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Gauci relishing test against potent City forward line

Joe Gauci

Joe Gauci appeared in the Isuzu UTE A-League for the first time since May against Melbourne Victory last Saturday.

It was a bit of a full circle moment for the 21-year-old given it was the same opposition he made his professional debut against last season back in March 2021.

Gauci succumbed to a quad injury towards the end of last season after playing 10 consecutive matches and kept three clean sheets.

During the pre-season he also aggravated his hip flexor which sidelined him for the majority of the pre-season.

Gauci began the league campaign behind James Delianov before the 22-year-old shot-stopper sustained a nasty shoulder injury against Wellington Phoenix and is expected to miss a prolonged period of time.

Gauci naturally would have been his replacement, but due to testing positive for COVID-19, his return was delayed and presented an opportunity to 16-year-old Steven Hall.

A week later and Gauci got to feature between the sticks, praising Adelaide’s determination to secure a 1-1 draw.

“It was good, it kind of felt like a debut again for me,” Gauci said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Back against Victory where I made my debut last year.

“I think for us to take a point away from home, obviously after conceding so late, the character that we showed late in the game – I think we finished with nine players on the field.

“The character that we showed was unbelievable and just really proud of the effort that we all put in.”

But having already experienced an extended run in the team last year, Gauci admits he knows what to expect.

“I think coming into the games that I played last year I was definitely a little nervous at the start,” he said.

“But when you’ve a good run of games it gives you confidence, so going into this season I was obviously keen to play games and that opportunity is here now.

“So it’s about doing what’s best for the team and about getting more three points.”

The Reds host Melbourne City this weekend, an outfit that boasts arguably the most destructive attacking line-up in the competition with Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout, Mathew Leckie, and Marco Tilio amongst other names.

Gauci insisted he was embracing the challenge.

“That’s why you play football, you want to play against the biggest names and the best teams,” the goalkeeper said.

“It’s good competition, everyone’s been talking about their Socceroos front three that they have and they’re all fantastic players.

“It’s really exciting as a goalkeeper because you want to test yourselve against the best players, it’s a real challenge but we’re all up for it.”