Former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven is preparing for his first “Italian derby” as coach of Perth SC as they take on Bayswater City in PlayStation 4 NPL WA tomorrow.
The two clubs, whose origins are in the local Italian community, will clash in a PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues WA encounter at Finance 365 Stadium.
Naven, who is also a former Glory assistant coach and took on the Perth SC head role this season, has played for both clubs and knows what to expect from the big match.
“Every coach says they approach every game the same way but this one has a bit extra for our supporters and the players, which is good,” he said.
“It’s my first derby as coach and we’re looking forward to the challenge. It will be a tough and pretty dynamic game.
“We’re playing against the championship-winning club and we want to be there – at the top. That’s what we’re in it for.”
Naven, who had a reputation as a fearless and combative player, has been absent from training this week due to attending a Pro Licence coaching course in Sydney.
“The players might’ve thought they would have a nice little rest because I wasn’t there,” he joked.
“But (assistant coach) Marc Wingell has been there taking the sessions and the players will be ready and motivated.”
Defending champions Bayswater, who were undefeated in 2015, have lost two of their first seven matches, placing more importance on a much-anticipated fixture.
Coach Chris Coyne is confident his side are starting to achieve the standards set in recent years.
“This is a massive one for more than just being the derby,” he said. “We’ve got to keep in touch with the top two or three teams and we’re just getting ourselves into a bit of form, so to lose again can really impede the season.
“But I think we’re getting stronger every week. (League leaders) Inglewood got off to a flyer and they’re only three ahead of us, so it’s not all doom and gloom.”
The departure to Indonesia of four-time Golden Boot winner Gustavo Giron Marulanda has diluted Bayswater’s attacking potency, although the champions have won their past two matches after defeats to Inglewood United and Sorrento.
Marulanda struck four times in Bayswater’s first game of the season and left the club having scored seven times in four matches.
Former Glory midfielder Todd Howarth’s three goals in the recent victories over Armadale and Subiaco bode well for Bayswater.
Coyne is bracing for a difficult game between his fourth-placed side and a Perth outfit, who are second, two points adrift of Inglewood.
PS4 NPLWA ROUND 8 FIXTURES
Saturday, May 7
Perth Glory v ECU Joondalup (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Cockburn City v Subiaco (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Perth SC (Finance 365 Stadium, 3pm)
Balcatta v Floreat Athena (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Inglewood United v Armadale (Inglewood Stadium, 3pm)Sorrento v Stirling Lions (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)