Floreat Athena will aim to tighten their grip on top spot when they take on Joondalup United in round 12 of the PS4 NPLWA on Saturday.
Floreat climbed ahead of the pack with a 2-1 win over Sorrento last week and are now two points ahead of the Gulls.
Coach Glen Grostate, who will have goalkeeper Jason Saldaris back from suspension, acknowledged Joondalup’s threat in an interview on the Floreat Facebook page.
“They’re a very tough team,” he said of a Joondalup side that came from two goals down to beat Perth SC last weekend. “They’re a big squad, they’ve beaten Sorrento and they beat Perth on the weekend, so they’re definitely up for it.”
“I know they’re very physical… if we do what we did against Sorrento we’ll be fine.”
Grostate also sent a warning to his own players, who cannot afford to become complacent about their position.
“I guess as we get to the half-way mark we’re going to be getting players in, so people are going to be fighting for spots,” he said.
After back-to-back wins against Sorrento and Perth SC, Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said his team was prepared for another big match.
“I’m expecting Floreat to come out and have a real go at us, try and win the game early and try to make a statement after a good win at Sorrento last week,” he said.
“We like to get on the front foot so I think it will be an exciting game with both teams going for victory.”
Jennings believes his side will cope with the pressure, despite the absence through suspension of keeper James Bosdet, Alex Wild and Ross Edwards.
“Luke Serra and Matt Sparrow will be returning from suspension, and Richie Howles up front is a real threat and a handful for every team in this league,” he said.
Also on Saturday, Perth Glory face ECU Joondalup at Ashfield Arena, while Cockburn City and Perth SC battle it out at Dalmatinac Park with only one point separating the teams.
Andy Keogh will take charge of Inglewood for the first time this season when they take on Balcatta, who will be searching for their first home win of the season at Grindleford Reserve.
Sorrento will host Stirling Lions at Percy Doyle Reserve, Subiaco and Armadale will meet at Rosalie Park and Bayswater head to Securitas Protect Stadium to take on Mandurah City in a repeat of the QBE Night Series Grand Final.
Saturday, May 6
Perth Glory v ECU Joondalup (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Cockburn City v Perth SC (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
Balcatta v Inglewood United (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Sorrento v Stirling Lions (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)
Subiaco v Armadale (Rosalie Park, 3pm)
Mandurah City v Bayswater City (Securitas Protect Stadium, 3pm)
Floreat Athena v Joondalup United (E&D Litis Stadium, 5pm)