Zadkovich backs Cameron Cook as Glory's go-to keeper
Perth Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich has declared goalkeeper Cameron Cook a big part of the club's future despite rumours that Wellington Phoenix gloveman Oliver Sail is on the verge of signing.
The goalkeeping situation at Glory has become a delicate situation, with veteran Liam Reddy unlikely to play for the club again after Zadkovich opted to turn to youth.
Cook is now the No.1 gloveman, with yet-to-debut Pierce Clark the back-up.
Glory also had former Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones on their books, but a serious knee injury ruled him out for the season.
Cook has made two significant blunders over the past three games - a weak clearing punch that allowed Melbourne City striker Mathew Leckie to score, and a poor attempted save last week that gifted Brisbane the winning goal in a 2-1 result.
But he's also pulled off a series of strong saves, and Zadkovich sees plenty of upside in the 21-year-old.
Zadkovich didn't want to buy into the talk of the rumours about NZ international Sail potentially signing with the club.
But he threw his support behind Cook, backing the young keeper to perform strongly in Saturday's crunch clash with Western United in Ballarat.
"Cookie's a fantastic keeper," Zadkovich said.
"Like a few players last week, I know he'll want to do better in a few areas.
"He's a long-term prospect for this club and a very valuable asset.
"He'll be a huge part of us moving forward, and I'll keep putting my faith in him."
Reddy has kept in 350 ALM matches - placing him fifth on the all-time games played list.
But the 41-year-old hasn't featured since the 2-0 loss to Adelaide on January 2, and is unlikely to get called upon again.
"Liam Reddy's had a hell of a career and he's been a fantastic servant to the club over a long period," Zadkovich said.
"But it's pretty clear that the club is going in a different direction, and we need to go in that direction for the good of the club."
Glory will be without forward Ryan Williams (suspended) and defender Darryl Lachman (concussion) for Saturday's match.
Perth (20 points) are on a five-match winless run, and need to beat Western United (19 points) to keep within striking distance of the top six.
Sydney (24 points) currently occupy sixth spot.
United breathed life into their title defence with a 3-1 win over Newcastle last week, fuelling hopes they can make a late finals charge.
"Our second half was a really good performance that showed that we're still capable of putting on performances like that and that will give everyone confidence," coach John Aloisi said.
"One result doesn't mean that we're at the top but it gives us confidence to keep on performing like that."