CONFIDENT Glory ready for Jets


Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has insisted that his squad is strong enough to cover the absence of both skipper Jacob Burns and star striker Shane Smeltz.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has insisted that his squad is strong enough to cover the absence of both skipper Jacob Burns and star striker Shane Smeltz.

Burns has been ruled out for up to a month after tearing a quadricep in training earlier this week, while Smeltz is still continuing his recovery from a hamstring injury, but Ferguson believes that his side are still more than capable of downing Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

“We-re at home and we-ve got a good squad with players who can come in and do a good job,” said Ferguson, “there-s no doubt about that.

“I believe that this squad is good enough to go on and take the three points.”
Billy Mehmet will continue to deputise for Smeltz in attack, but Ferguson revealed that the Kiwi striker-s recovery is ahead of schedule and that he is expected to return to training early next week.

“Smeltzy will miss this game,” he said, “but hopefully he-ll be back in training on Monday or Tuesday next week and we-ll get some full sessions into him and see where that takes him.

“Everything with his rehab has been great and now we need to step it up come Monday.”

On the subject of who will come into the run-on side in Burns- absence, however, the Glory coach would only confirm that Nick Ward, Chris Harold and Adrian Zahra are all in contention.

“We-ll be trying a few things when your cameras are off,” he joked, “and we-ll see what happens.

“Nick Ward has done a tremendous job since he-s been here.
“In the last four games he-s come on and made a huge impact off the bench and also little (Chris) Harold has come on and done a great job as well.

“Zahra was unfortunate to miss out last week, so I-ve been really pleased with the personnel that hasn-t been getting as much game time and we-re going to have to make change, so one of them will be playing.”

And despite last week-s defeat at the hands of Sydney FC, Ferguson confirmed that Glory will not adjust their style of play against the high-flying Jets.

“The manner in which we played against Sydney in controlling the game and keeping the ball and getting our wide players involved and our full-backs forward is how I-ve always wanted to play.

“We-ve got to maintain that and be a little bit more ruthless in front of goal and make sure that when we have that amount of possession and domination, there-s an end product.

“Credit to the boys, I-ve been really pleased with the manner in which we-ve played, it-s just those little mistakes that we-re getting punished for.”
When quizzed about Jets marquee man Emile Heskey, meanwhile, Ferguson acknowledged the threat posed by the former England man, but was also quick to reiterate that Glory have plenty of strengths of their own.

“Heskey-s scored four goals in four games so we have to make sure we do our homework and snuff out the supply from the wider areas and that-s something we-ve been working on.

“We need to make sure that when we-re marking Emile, we don-t give him too much room.

“It-s going to be a tough challenge, but as I keep saying, I hope they-re going to be worrying about us as well.
“We-ve got our own players who can cause them a lot of problems, we-re at home tomorrow and I want us to take the game to Newcastle and carry on where we-ve left off in our last four games.”

Saturday, November 3
nib Stadium
Kick-off: 6.45pm