Preview: Thommo expects tough time in Perth


Melbourne Heart FC travels to Perth in round three of the Hyundai A-League this weekend, seeking to maintain its unbeaten run.

Melbourne Heart FC midfielder Matt Thompson believes it will be “massive” if the team comes away from tomorrow’s match against Perth Glory with three points.

Thompson will make his 179th Hyundai A-League appearance at nib Stadium tomorrow afternoon and the 30-year-old veteran knows all too well how difficult knocking off Glory on its home patch is.

While Thompson admitted the A-League fixture list served up no easy games, the significance of three points in Perth was “huge”.

“Not many teams will go there and get the three points, let alone a point, so if we can get a win there, that would be massive,” Thompson said at Melbourne Airport today.

“It’s a tough game; Perth are a good side and we’re expecting a hard match.”

In round 11 last season, Heart handed themselves an early Christmas present with a 2-1 win at nib Stadium in December, but fresh in the memory is the team-s 0-3 elimination in week one of the Finals Series.

In fact, Heart has only recorded one victory over Perth in seven attempts and Heart will look to erase the residual memory from that match in April.

But with a new coach, a new look and a promising start to the 2012/13 season, Thompson and his teammates won-t be reading too much into their latest head-to-head encounters.

Perth has had a mixed start, knocking off champions Brisbane Roar, only to come crashing down against Central Coast Mariners.

“We’re a different side and they’re a different side. They had a loss last week and they will be looking to bounce back,” Thompson.

“We did alright last week, it wasn’t the best, but we’re definitely going over there with some sort of form and that-s important.”

“We-re definitely better off for the way we started this year compared to the last couple of years.

“So it’s a position we’re not familiar with earlier on in the season, but it’s something we’re enjoying.

“We’re not playing catch-up yet, but the job’s not done; we’re only two games in.”

Thompson said that Heart would not be focussing on Perth-s loss of prolific New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz, who will not be back to haunt Heart again after his hat-trick which knocked Heart out in the finals series.

Smeltz has been a thorn in Heart-s side in previous meetings with the Hyundai A-League-s all-time top scorer having netted on four occasions in six matches against the Heart.

“[Smeltz is a] quality player and definitely a loss for them, but [Billy] Mehmet comes straight back in and he’s a danger for us,” Thompson said.

For Heart the suspended Simon Colosimo, dealt a one-match ban for a goal-line handball against Wellington Phoenix, will be the only absentee from last week.

While Thompson netted a cracking goal after excellent lead-in work from Aziz Behich and captain Fred, Heart-s number 8 wants to see his teammates bury their chances.

“Nothing much has changed for us, but when we get the opportunities we have to take them, simple as that,” Thompson said.

“We back ourselves to create opportunities and we’re defending quite well at the moment, but it’s important for us that we do make those opportunities – you might only get two or three a game – count; we definitely need to put them away. If we do that, we’ll go a long way to winning.”

Sunday, October 21
Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart
Venue: nib Stadium
Kick off: 2:00 PM
Referee: Matt Gillett
Assistant Ref 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Ref 2: Michal Jasinski
Fourth official: Trent Fleskens

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Delayed Coverage on Sky Sport 2 (22:00)
Radio broadcast: ABC Local radio WA, Grandstand Digital Perth and Melbourne

To purchase tickets click here

Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny Vukovic (gk), 3.Bas van den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 6.Nick Ward, 7.Jacob Burns (c), 8.Dean Heffernan, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 11.Adrian Zahra, 12.Ryo Nagai, 13.Travis Dodd, 14.Steven McGarry, 15.Brandon O-Neill, 18.Jesse Makarounas, 19.Josh Risdon, 21.Scott Jamieson, 22.Ndumba Makeche, 23.Michael Thwaite, 39.Devon Spence (gk)**Five to be omitted

Ins: 11.Adrian Zahra 15.Bradon O-Neill, 18.Jesse Makarounas, 22.Ndumba Makeche (all promoted)
Outs: 9.Shane Smeltz (returns from international duty)
Unavailable: 16.Evan Berger (hamstring – 6 weeks)

Melbourne Heart squad: 1. Clint Bolton (GK), 2. Michael Marrone, 5. Fred (c), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson, 9. Dylan Macallister, 10. Josip Tadic, 11. Richard Garcia, 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Jason Hoffman, 18. David Vrankovic, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. Steven Gray, 22. Nick Kalmar, 23. Mate Dugandzic
*one to be omitted*

Ins: Nil
Outs: 4. Simon Colosimo (Suspended – one week), 14. Golgol Mebrahtu (fitness – one/two weeks), Jonatan Germano (Fitness – undisclosed), 19. Ben Garuccio (international duty – Qantas Young Socceroos)
Unavailable: Nil