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Glory urge patience for Taggart, Williams

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/12/2016 By Justin Chadwick

Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has urged fans to take a patient approach with Adam Taggart and Rhys Williams, saying the star recruits need more time to reach their peak.

Taggart scored a brace in the opening game of the season before spending the next five weeks on the sidelines due to a calf injury.

Williams, who has been plagued by achilles injuries in recent years, has been solid in his seven games this season, but the former Socceroo missed last week's draw with Melbourne Victory through suspension.

Taggart is a chance to start against Newcastle in Perth on Saturday night after making three straight appearances off the bench, while Williams could play either in defence or through the midfield.

The pair loom as key cogs in Glory's push for title success this season, and Lowe expects them to improve in the coming weeks.

Lowe initially expected the pair to hit their straps at about rounds 12-15.

He said that might need to be pushed back further given both players have missed games this season, on top of being plagued by injuries in recent years.

"I'm not saying I've got a crystal ball. But the lads have been out a long time," Lowe said.

"Don't expect too much of them. It's good they're fit and healthy and ready to play."

Socceroos defender Josh Risdon is on track to make a surprise return against the Jets after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a quad injury.

Risdon was initially set to miss up to a month of action, but he might end up missing only one week.

However, Lowe faces a tough decision given Risdon's replacement - Brandon Wilson - performed so well at right back last week.

"That's something I've got to think about. That's why I'm not saying Rizzo's a definite starter," Lowe said.

"The kid (Wilson) has done really well. He's put his hand up, sacrificed for the team.

"But ultimately you've got to pick a side that you think on the day is going to win the game.

"And a fit Rizzo is better than anyone in the league. So now we've got to make a tough decision."

Defender Joseph Mills is also fit to play despite copping a knock to the leg in last week's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory.

He also went to war with a spider this week.

"I looked at him at training yesterday, and he was holding his leg," Lowe said.

"Afterwards I asked him, 'Are you feeling OK?' Apparently, he's got a spider bite there so that's what's killing him.

"We're having a torrid time with our fullbacks at the moment."

Glory sit in fifth spot on the table, while the Jets are struggling in ninth with just one win to their name.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Perth Glory are undefeated in their past 14 games against Newcastle Jets in the A-League (W12, D2), including a current streak of eight straight wins.

* The last and only time Newcastle won an away game against Perth was their first-ever encounter in November 2005. The Jets have since lost 11 games and drawn four.

* Perth Glory are undefeated in their past 10 games on home soil (W7, D3), scoring an average of three goals per game across that span.

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