Harold keen to partner Keogh in Glory firing line

Chris Harold goes on the attack for Glory (Getty)

Chris Harold believes he has given himself every chance of being Andy Keogh's striking partner up front for Perth Glory when it kicks off its A-League campaign with an away game against Wellington Phoenix on 12 October.

New signing Keogh, the 28-year-old Irishman with a long history of playing for English clubs, has drawn rave reviews for his pre-season form and is bound to be a key player for Glory this season.

But there is an opportunity to play alongside him in Glory's formation and Harold, one of the wave of good, young players that has come through at the club over the past couple of years, is among those in the running for that role.

Harold has previously mostly been seen as a wide attacker on the right for Glory, but he says he is more comfortable playing closer to the middle of the front line.

"We've been playing with two up front and not so much width during the pre-season," Harold said. "I've been playing in that striking role alongside one of the other guys. We've all had a chance there.

"I've enjoyed it, because in my junior days I was always a central striker. The last couple of years I've had to adjust to being able to play out wide as well, but I do enjoy playing as a striker more than anything.

"Andy is here and we've also got myself, Jamie Maclaren and Sidnei competing to be in the team.

"If you want a successful team there's got to be serious competition for every spot on the park and I think myself, Jamie and Sidnei have all proved that we can do a pretty good job in the A-League.

"It's really competitive for spots up front and that's only going to make us push ourselves harder to perform.

"I definitely think I've given myself every chance of being in the team for round one. I've scored a few goals against local sides in the pre-season. It's not quite the same as playing against A-League teams, but for my own confidence it's been pretty good.

"I'd love to start in that first game against Wellington, but I suppose only Kenny (Lowe, the Perth coach) really knows the answer to that question."

Harold says he feels like his combination with Keogh is developing well.

"The structure and the system the coach has implemented only helps us do that," he said.

"I was a bit surprised when I heard Andy had signed for us, because a lot of players from Europe come here in their early to mid-30s whereas Andy is still in his 20s. He's reaching his peak and that's really exciting for us.

"It's been great watching him at training. He's clever, especially around the box. He's got really good awareness and can get a shot away under heavy pressure and in not much space. I think he'll be very successful in the A-League this year.

"Kenny has played around with myself and Jamie and Sidnei up front. There's been a bit of chopping and changing, but I've felt when I have played up front with Andy we do play pretty well together. We've got different styles, so that could work well."

There was a large turnover of players on the Glory roster after last season, but Harold says the long pre-season has given the players valuable time to familiarise themselves with each other on the pitch.

"There is generally a high turnover of players at most A-League clubs at the end of a season. That's just the way the A-League is," he said.

"It's probably more so for us this season, but the fact we do have such a long pre-season gives the players and the coaching staff the opportunity to do a lot of work together.

"Kenny is established in the job now as well, so we've had time to settle on our structure and get used to how he wants us to play. Everyone knows his role.

"We'll be well prepared for round one. Apart from the normal pre-season trial games we've had a couple of FFA Cup games against Newcastle Jets and St Albans and while people might think it's not strong opposition when you play a non-A-League club, it's still a competitive match.

"The fact we got through those games and played really well was a big positive and I think everyone's pretty confident heading into the first round. Everyone's trying to be patient while we wait for it to actually come around now."

Lowe's tactics after taking over as coach midway through last season were fairly conservative but the Glory fans can expect a moreproactive approach in games.

"Kenny has set out a clear structure in terms of how we're going to play this year and I think we'll be pretty free-flowing going forward," Harold said.

"A lot of the players we've brought in are very good attacking players. Scoring goals has been a bit of an issue for us in the last couple of seasons, but I feel that will be something that we can change this year.

"The other thing is away form. I'm sure every Perth Glory player says it, but it really is a thorn in our side.

"The two FFA Cup games we won were away from home, so that's a good thing, but it's something Kenny is drumming into us. It's all about our mindset.

"You can make as many excuses as you want, but the reality of the situation is that we have to do a lot of travelling and we've got to just get on with it and deal with it."

Source SBS