Of the clutch of exciting young players trying to force their way into Ian Ferguson’s squad for Sunday’s clash with Melbourne Heart, Adrian Zahra has a little extra personal motivation.
The versatile 22-year-old did of course join Glory from the red and whites during the off-season and he is understandably desperate to make his competitive bow for his new club against his former employers.
”But I’ve just got to wait and see how things work out this week," he said.
“I’ve got to stay patient and wait for the opportunity to come.
“Obviously when you leave a club you’re very keen to play against them and I keep in touch with a lot of the boys such as Zizi (Aziz Behich), Hoffy (Jason Hoffman), Nick (Kalmar), Thommo (Matt Thompson) and Michael Marrone.
“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.”
Having finally shrugged off the effects of the infamous Kevin Muscat challenge that left him requiring knee surgery last year, Zahra featured prominently in Glory’s highly-successful pre-season campaign and clearly believes that he is close to being back to his best.
“I feel that my confidence is coming back,” he said.
“I’m feeling physically good and fit and now I’ve just got to stay patient and wait for the opportunity to come.
“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 something that got my confidence up.”
In terms of Sunday’s opponent, Zahra has been impressed by its form to date but he believes Glory is more than capable of inflicting a first defeat of the season upon John Aloisi’s side.
“I thought Heart were very impressive in the derby,” he said.
“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 and I’m confident that we can get another win this week.”
Those positive sentiments were echoed by Travis Dodd, the man currently occupying Zahra’s preferred position on the right-hand side of midfield.
“It’s important to bounce back this week,” said Dodd.
“It was very disappointing to go over to Central Coast last week and not get anything out of it, but unfortunately that’s the way things go sometimes.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to nib Stadium and it’ll be nice to have Shane Smeltz back with us.
“The last time he played against Heart he scored a hat-trick, so I’m sure he’s looking forward to coming back as well and hopefully he can repeat that on Sunday.”
The A-League will make its LIVE free-to-air TV debut next season with the blockbuster clash between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets on Friday 11 October on SBS 2.