Season Preview: Perth Glory

We preview the season ahead for the Perth Glory whose team of youth will be looking to make a name for themselves in 2013/14.

We preview the season ahead for the Perth Glory whose team of youth will be looking to make a name for themselves in 2013/14.

Team Perth Glory scraped through to the finals last season after finishing sixth when a draw against Adelaide United at home gave them the point they needed to lock up the last finals position. The joy did not last long though as they got knocked out in the elimination final in extra time away to Melbourne Victory. This season the youthful Glory side will be looking to lock in that finals spot a little earlier than the dying moments of the final round.

Much of the off-season talk in the far west has been about the excitement surrounding Young Socceroos representative Daniel De Silva. After impressing at the U/20 World Cup European clubs came knocking at the door but coach Alistair Edwards has held on to his young gun and will be hoping to unveil the league-s next superstar in coming months.

De Silva's Young Socceroos teammate Jamie Maclaren has returned from Blackburn Rovers and will be looking to combine with prolific A-League goal scorer Shane Smeltz as they aim to become one of the league-s strongest attacking duos. Returning captain Jacob Burns will soon play his 100th game for Perth and will bring some much needed experience to a team overflowing with youthful exuberance.

Interest will also be centred around Alistair Edwards two sons that have followed their father to the Glory with Ryan (on loan from Reading) and Cameron (arriving from Melbourne Heart) both set to see plenty of game time in the season ahead.

The Glory finished their pre-season preparations with a thumping 3-0 win over Sydney FC as Maclaren scored a brace and Brazilian addition Sidnei Sciola got the third in what were promising signs of a strong season ahead.

Manager Most A-League managers will tell you that the off-season does drag on but when it is your first full pre-season with your side, as it is for Glory manager Alistair Edwards, than you want all the time you can get. Edwards came in as interim coach late last season and was then offered a two-year deal after spending time as the Young Socceroos coach.

Edwards obviously liked what he saw in his former role as he based his team on a lot of exciting youth players that will likely get a lot of game time throughout the 2013/14 season. After coming desperately close to booking a semi-final date with eventual grand final winners Central Coast Mariners last season, the former Glory player will be looking to guide his side to the top.

Star player With all the youth he has surrounding him there is no doubt that Shane Smeltz will feel rejuvenated heading into the new season. The current all-time leading A-League goal scorer has won two golden boots and will be looking to return to the form that has seen him become one of the league-s most lethal strikers. After a tough year in 2012/13 that saw the forward diagnosed with Melanoma as well dealing with other injuries, Smeltz will start the season on the sidelines as he recovers from hip surgery but will no doubt be aiming to don the purple as soon as possible and do the Glory faithful proud.

Fans Perth has always had a strong love for football and since the Hyundai A-League-s inception this love for their team has continued to grow. Glory supporters travel near and far in support of their team and will be excited at the clubs prospects in the year ahead and beyond with the amount of young talent in their team. NIB Stadium has recently gone under a face-lift and will be ready to support the hordes of fans wearing the purple strip as they aim to cheer their side to Glory.

Ins and Outs

In Isaka Cernak (from Wellington Phoenix) Cameron Edwards (from Melbourne Heart) Jack Duncan (from Newcastle Jets) Jamie Maclaren (from Blackburn Rovers, England) Ryan Edwards (from Reading, England - on loan) Sidnei Sciola (from Alki Larnaca, Cyprus) Matthew Davies (elevated from youth side) Riley Woodcock (elevated from youth side) Daniel De Silva (elevated from youth side)

Out Liam Miller (to Brisbane Roar) Dean Heffernan (to Western Sydney Wanderers) Storm Roux (to Central Coast Mariners) Lewis Italiano (to Wellington Phoenix) Evan Berger (to Marconi Stallions, NSW Premier League) Neil Young (to Perth Glory coaching staff) Nick Ward (released) Matias Cordoba (released)