Glory to boost attacking firepower

Perth head coach Kenny Lowe is out to strengthen the Glory’s squad in midfield and up front, and has set his sights on signing a dynamic forward.

While at the other end of the pitch veteran defender William Gallas is in talks with the club about extending his stay in Perth.

Lowe, who was recently installed as the A-League outfit's permanent coach after serving as interim boss since December, told FourFourTwo there is a need to add to the club’s goal-scoring ranks.

“I think the midfield area we’ll look to strengthen and our attacking options we’ll look to strengthen,” the Englishman said. 

“I think defensively, Josh Risdon was out for most of the year, Scott Jamieson was out for most of the year.

“We’ve got these guys to come back and be firing, we’ve added Dino (Djulbic), I think we’ve always had a fairly solid base there defensively, we just lack a little of firepower in scoring goals with Shane (Smeltz) being out for a long time. 

“I think the focus will be to bring an exciting, dynamic forward and midfield players into the club.”

Midfielder Steven McGarry and striker Shane Smeltz were the top scorers for Perth in the 2013-2014 campaign with four goals each, followed by Chris Harold and Brazilian import Sidnei with three a piece.

McGarry and Smeltz are two of a number of Glory players off-contract, along with Adrian Zahra and marquee signing William Gallas. Smeltz has been offered a one-year contract extension but his Australian marquee spot has been dumped.

Lowe would not be drawn on the off-contract players but said French World Cup finalist Gallas, who suffered an injury-hit campaign, is in talks about playing with the club next season.

“There’s a number of decisions that have been made internally within the club and they’ll be announced in due course,” he said.

“I’ll leave the club to roll those out as and when. There’s a number of hard decisions being made.

“William’s chatting to the club. Other people have offers to go elsewhere, it’s not just a decision for us to say ‘yeah we want you’.

“Other people access what options they’ve got in other parts of the world and sometimes things appeal to people, another experience, another journey.

“But the club are definitely chatting to William at the moment. I think William will chat to the club and decide what he wants to do himself.”

Jacob Burns and Travis Dodd have already retired while on loan pair Ryan Edwards and Darvydas Sernas have returned to their parent clubs.

Former Socceroo Djulbic has already been signed by Perth for next season while goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will return from his loan in Japan.

“Dino’s a WA boy,” Lowe said. 

“Obviously he’s got experience, he’s played abroad, he’s played at a high level, he’s represented the Socceroos.

“I think he’s 30, 31-year old but in terms of a player he’s young. I think he came into the game fairly late as a 21, 22-year old. 

“So he’s a character, he’s a winner and he’s a WA boy so we had an opportunity to get Dino and if we didn’t do it we would’ve been remiss not to take that.

“I would expect Danny to come back into the fold. He’s highly valued.”

The Glory finished eighth on the A-League ladder last season, 10 points off sixth-placed Adelaide United and two above last-placed Melbourne Heart.

Lowe’s aim is for the club to improve greatly on its difficult 2013-2014 campaign. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. 

“Obviously it’s a big job. I’m just excited really more than anything else. Even when I first came in I had one eye on the planning. In regards to goals, we just want to have a very big improvement on last year. 

“If we can add to the playing group - we’ve lost a few players - then we’ll add a little bit of quality into the squad as we’ve lost some experienced players. Bring some quality in to allow us to improve and finish higher up in the league.

“I think it’s a franchise league, every club in the league should have aspirations to make that (the top six).

“We all have a level playing field so to speak, in certain terms. Some have a little bit more than others but there’s a fair amount of parity right amongst the sides in truth. And that’s probably shown how close it was this year.”

Lowe said one area he will be beefing up is on the club’s facilities and back-room staff.

“We’ve had a lot of dialogue and I’m very holistic,” he said. 

“I want to cover all the bases if I can. Obviously budgets restrict that. We can’t go out and get Premier League facilities and cover every single base but I think if we’re intelligent, smart, we’ll look to tie into the expertise and the local universities and cover things like nutrition, hydration, sports psychology and especially the strength and conditioning and sports science. 

“We’re well advanced on maybe covering all of those areas. We’ve had dialogue and we’re bringing full-time experts in, and especially on the strength and conditioning side.”