HARRY Kewell’s Melbourne Heart is today expected to announce it will go ahead with plans to play Perth Glory at Lavington Oval in February.
As first reported in The Border Mail in May, the round 18 fixture was left without a venue as Football Federation Australia looked to push the game into the regions.
Soccer officials and representatives from its broadcast partner Fox Sports have been looking at both Albury Sportsground and Lavington since that time.
The match was scheduled to be played on Sunday, February 9, but The Border Mail understood it would come forward to the Saturday afternoon.
The weekend would also see Football NSW, for the first time, hold a coaching conference in regional Australia — the drawcard being the A-League match.
Yesterday, Melbourne Heart said it would be making the official announcement at 11am today but wouldn’t expand.
Chief executive Scott Munn confirmed earlier this year that the club was keen to play in the country.
“We have the possibility of staging a regional match next February and are currently in advanced discussions with the federation,” Munn said.
Border soccer spokesman Steve Hayes expected a huge crowd.
“This is ridgy-didge, playing for points and both teams will have their best teams on the park — including Harry Kewell,” Hayes said yesterday.
“We have had trial matches, City vs Country and other games but I think it is the first time that elite level sport has come here to play for points,” Hayes said.
“They are playing for their livelihoods.”
Hayes said the state coaching conference would use the game as part of its teaching program.
“This is the first time they have taken it to regional Australia,” he said.
“The conference will draw top-level coaches from around the country — I’d expect somewhere between 200 and 300 of them.”
Albury Council has been in talks with the football federation about hosting a home-and-away match in Albury since last year and always believed its strong connection with Melbourne Heart, which played an AWFA representative side on the Border, would get the match over the line.