Perth Glory travel to Melbourne confident of Victory.
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson remains confident that his side can claim a positive result from Friday night’s trip to Melbourne Victory despite the home side’s recent upsurge in form and the fact that he will have to factor injuries, international call-ups and a suspension into his selection equation.
Two changes will have to be made in the back four, with Michael Thwaite and Scott Jamieson both away on Socceroos duty and there will be at least one further adjustment in midfield where Jacob Burns has been ruled out by suspension.
Evan Berger and Ryo Nagai, meanwhile, remain sidelined by injury, Liam Miller faces a late test on a back problem that has limited his involvement in training this week, but Dean Heffernan and Bas van den Brink are both expected to return after missing last week’s draw with Wellington due to respective groin and back strains.
“We are going to be stretched to the bare essentials,” he said, “but we’ll still put out a good strong team against Melbourne and I’m reasonably happy with where we are at the moment.
“I still feel as if the squad is strong enough to go to Melbourne and get something.
“They’ve got (Archie) Thompson and (Mark) Milligan out and I think that will hurt them more than us losing Jamieson and Thwaite because we’ve got van den Brink and Heffernan to come in and cover.”
Ferguson also believes that his charges can draw encouragement from their recent away trips to Melbourne which yielded a draw with Victory and two wins over Heart last term, along with comfortable victories against both sides during this year’s pre-season campaign.
“There’s a different manager in there at Victory now,” he said, “and a totally different philosophy and they’ve been playing very well recently, but we have done well down in Melbourne in the last couple of seasons and we’re looking to continue that on Friday.
“We went there in pre-season and did extremely well and I know people say it’s only pre-season, but it still gives the boys confidence going there because it’s the same team and the same personnel that you’re playing against, so you know you can do it.”
Glory’s trip to the Victorian capital will be their ninth game of the campaign, meaning that a third of the regular season has already been completed and Ferguson is reasonably happy with his side’s performances to date.
“We could easily have got points from the three games that we’ve lost,” he said.
“The Mariners game wasn’t great to watch, but it was a game that we maybe should have got a point from and then in the Sydney game, we were in total control for 60 minutes, we get a man sent off and we end up losing a game 2-1 that we should definitely have got something from.
“Then you look at the second-half against Western Sydney and we totally dominated it and just couldn-t score and dropped points.
“But compared to where we were last year at this stage, we’re actually two points better off and you always try and better what you did last season.
“I think to be two points ahead of where we were at this stage last year, you’ve got to be happy.
“It’s going to be a very tough game for us on Friday, but with the team that we’re taking over there, we are definitely capable of doing something.”
Perth Glory would also like to congratulate forward Travis Dodd who is set to make his 350th appearance at Australian national league level. Travis will become the 21st player to reach the mark.
Hyundai A-League Round 9
MELBOURNE VICTORY v PERTH GLORY
Friday, 30 November
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 4.30pm (Perth time)
Perth Glory Squad:1.Danny Vukovic (gk), 3.Bas van den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 6.Nick Ward, 8.Dean Heffernan 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 11.Adrian Zahra, 13.Travis Dodd, 14.Steven McGarry, 15.Brandon O-Neill, 17.Chris Harold, 18.Jesse Makarounas, 19.Josh Risdon, 30 Lewis Italiano (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins:3.Bas van den Brink (returns from injury), 8.Dean Heffernan (returns from injury), 15.Bradon O-Neill, 18.Jesse Makarounas (both promoted).
Outs:7.Jacob Burns (suspended – 1 game), 21.Scott Jamieson (Socceroos – 2 games), 23.Michael Thwaite (Socceroos – 2 games).
Unavailable:12.Ryo Nagai (Bone bruising knee 3-5 weeks), 16.Evan Berger (hamstring – indefinite).