Glory to be full strength for Cup final


Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe expects key midfielder Mitch Nichols to be fit for Tuesday’s FFA Cup final despite a minor hamstring complaint.

Nichols was forced from the pitch in Friday night’s Hyundai A-League win over the Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium after slumping to the turf in the 73rd minute clutching at his left leg.

The 25-year-old limped off alongside the club’s physiotherapist and immediately iced his injured leg on the sidelines, sparking concerns about his availability for the FFA Cup final against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium in only four days time.

Lowe said the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory player was battling hamstring tightness, not a strain or tear, and could see no reason why Nichols would not take his place in the side on Tuesday.

“I don’t know whether you noticed last game, he had cramp, and it’s just a precaution,” Lowe said after Glory’s 2-0 win over the Jets.

“The lads were just really honest and said ‘I’m a bit tight’ or whatever. We’ve got three games in seven days so they were just being really sensible.”

Veteran winger Richard Garcia, who scored the opening goal against Newcastle, was also substituted out of the match with leg tightness but is not in doubt.

Lowe expects to have a full squad – aside from injured pair Youssouf Hersi and Diogo Ferreira – available for the FFA Cup final.

Glory will travel to Adelaide on Monday and the club also hopes to sneak in a training session upon arrival in the City of Churches.

Perth is desperate to win some silverware after a 10-year trophy drought and all available players are pushing to be part of the occasion.

Lowe was coy on the potential make-up of his travelling squad, keeping in mind his league-leading side also has a match against Central Coast at nib Stadium next Saturday night.

“I haven’t got a clue (who will play), maybe I’ll get the bingo balls out, everyone wants to start,” Lowe said.

“You just look at everyone on their merits…you’re always going to upset people, but I think if you honestly upset them, then there’s no problem.

“It’s not an ideal world, but if you want to be in the side, you need to do a little bit better.”

Glory’s win over the Jets was an ugly affair, but Lowe was pleased to walk away with another three points and remain at the top of the league for at least another week.

It was Perth’s eighth win of the season and extended the club’s unbeaten run to seven, including six wins during that stretch.

“I’m pleased that they’ve been able to do that because this (match) was a banana skin (waiting) to happen and it showed in the first 20-30 minutes the way they played that they were really switched on for the game,” Lowe said.