Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe expects his side’s confidence to grow even further after overcoming Ruben Zadkovich’s send-off to claim a fourth straight win and remain top of the Hyundai A-League.
Zadkovich was shown a red card just 17 seconds after running on to the pitch in the 61st minute for a dangerous tackle on Vince Lia, reducing Glory to 10 men for the last half-hour of Friday night’s clash with Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium.
Fortunately for Lowe, his side was two goals ahead at the time and held off the fast-finishing Phoenix to record a 2-1 win – Glory’s fifth from six matches this season.
It was a nervous final 30 minutes for the league leaders, especially after Roy Krishna converted a penalty in the 85th minute and Nathan Burns went agonisingly close to equalising deep in injury time.
Glory left back Scott Jamieson also spent several minutes off the pitch as he was treated for a minor leg tweak during Wellington’s late surge.
But Glory prevailed and Lowe believed it would take his side’s already booming confidence to another level.
“I’ve got confidence in them anyway, but I think it will give them even more confidence … and the two goals were top notch,” Lowe said.
“It was never in doubt with the character they’ve got. It just re-emphasised the type of people they are.
“We got forward, we got back, we worked hard, we put our foot in, we played good football and we created chances, even when we were down to nine, and they didn’t have a shot, apart from Burnsy at the end.
“We looked organised, we looked composed, we looked in control of the game with nine players and that’s testament to those guys (in the dressing room).”
Zadkovich could miss Glory’s road double against Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC if suspended for two matches by the FFA’s match review panel on Monday.
But Lowe will not be without reinforcements for the two-week trip, with young striker Jamie Maclaren (international duty) and Brazilian winger Sidnei (returning from a calf injury) set to join the travelling party.
Mitch Nichols will also return to the line-up after starting as a substitute following a mid-week appearance for the Socceroos against Japan.
Lowe said having depth in his squad had created healthy competition for spots and it was contributing to Glory’s impressive start to the season.
“We had an ulterior motive at the beginning of the year to recruit players and because of the way we went about our business, it now allows us to make certain decisions,” Lowe said.
“We’ve got a full healthy squad now so there’s real competition for places – so my job is just going to get harder.”