FFA Cup: Sorrento venue switch frustrates Harnwell

Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell says regulations forcing their FFA Cup clash with Sydney FC away from their home ground takes away from the meaning of the cup.

The Seagulls, who are currently eighth on the NPL WA table, were pitted at home against last season’s A-League runners-up in Wednesday’s FFA Cup round of 32 draw.

However, Sorrento’s home ground Percy Doyle Reserve has been deemed not suitable due to the insufficient lux of the venue’s floodlights.

Lighting was an issue for a number of NPL clubs in last year’s FFA Cup, including WA pair Stirling Lions and Bayswater City whose home matches against A-League opponents were both moved to the state’s Athletics Stadium.

The Round of 32 home venues for NPL clubs Croydon Kings, Palm Beach and Edgeworth FC are yet to be determined too.

Perth Glory legend Harnwell said he had no preference for an alternate venue but was disappointed by the inconsistency of the regulations dependent on the opposition.

“We’d love to have it at our home ground,” Harnwell told FourFourTwo.

“The lights have been deemed to not be suitable for A-League opposition which is disappointing and takes away from the whole meaning of the cup.

“If they’re good enough to host an NPL club, which they are, then why not an A-League side.

“But we’re prepared for anywhere. We’re a hard battling side, so wherever it ends up being we’ll deal with it and give it our best shot.”

The Glory record games holder said the five-hour flight and playing out of season could affect Sydney, but admitted his side would need to “play out of their skins” to get a result.

Harnwell, 37, led Glory’s women’s team to the W-League Grand Final last season but said this would be his biggest test as a coach.

“To be in the national competition, the FFA Cup, against last year’s runners-up Sydney FC and Graham Arnold, it doesn’t get too much bigger or better than that,” he said.

“It’s a huge test for myself as a coach. We’ve got four weeks or so as a lead-in to that to prepare ourselves as best we can.”

Sorrento, based in Perth’s northern coastal suburbs, is a family club with Harnwell’s father Derek the president, while his brother Todd has been playing as their centre forward.

Jamie revealed he is still registered to play, but is unlikely to pull the boots on, having retired two years ago.

“I’m actually registered as well,” he laughed. “I registered myself at the start of the season in case of emergency but I don’t think so.

“It’d have to take a fair run of events and a few injuries to get myself back on the bench.”

Sorrento defeated Bayswater City 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to clinch their spot in the final 32.