Perth Glory midfielder Adrian Zahra has acknowledged that he may struggle to force his way into Ian Ferguson's squad for Sunday's clash between the two sides at nib Stadium.
While admitting that he is desperate to make his competitive debut for Perth Glory against former employers Melbourne Heart, midfielder Adrian Zahra has acknowledged that he may struggle to force his way into Ian Ferguson's squad for Sunday's clash between the two sides at nib Stadium.
The 22-year-old's career was in serious doubt early last year when Kevin Muscat's infamous challenge left him requiring knee surgery.
But he has battled his way back and played a prominent role in Glory's highly successful pre-season campaign.
"I'd love to make my debut for Perth against my old team," he said. "But the team's doing well, so it's obviously about biding your time, being patient and making sure you take the opportunity when you get it.
"I feel that my confidence is coming back, I'm feeling physically good and fit and now I've just got to stay patient and wait and see how things work out this week."
He added: "Last year it was harder on me because I missed the whole pre-season and was then chasing the pack and trying to come from behind.
"This year I had a full pre-season, played in nine of the 10 friendlies that we had and to come through all that after the injury I had was a relief and that got my confidence up."
Zahra said he is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with his former team-mates this weekend, and admitted that he has been impressed by the form John Aloisi's side have shown in their opening two games of the campaign.
"I keep in touch with a lot of the boys," he said.
"I've spoken to them already this week and they'll be happy to catch up before the game, but once the game is on, no-one's mates, you just get on with it and hopefully we'll get the three points.
"I thought Heart were very impressive in the derby. They kept Victory to a minimum of passing and did really well.
"Even last week, to scrap out a result with 10 men (against Wellington) was good for them, but my main focus is what we're doing.
"We've played two games and got one great result and been unlucky in the other game."
Travis Dodd is the man currently keeping Zahra out of the Glory side and the former Socceroo feels that there is plenty of room for improvement from last season's beaten grand finalists.
"At the start of the season it's always going to be a little bit scrappy," he said.
"We're still turning possession over a little too easily and the decision-making could be a bit sharper.
"I'm reasonably happy with the form I've shown myself, but there are definitely some things I could have done better, so I need to keep to improving as well."
Dodd did not join the main group for Wednesday's training session, but is confident that he will be available for the Heart clash.
"I just got a knock in the calf during the game on Sunday," he revealed. "But I'm not really concerned about it.
"The physio just said it was best to stay off it for an extra day and I should rejoin the main group on Friday."
Bas van den Brink and Dean Heffernan are also expected to shrug off respective calf and thigh niggles ahead of Sunday's showdown.