Glory ready for Jets raid


Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson says his side can’t afford to worry too much about a Newcastle side that may spring a few surprises under new coach Gary van Egmond.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson says his side can’t afford to worry too much about a Newcastle side that may spring a few surprises under new coach Gary van Egmond.

Van Egmond returned to coach the Jets for the first time since the 2008-09 season in a 3-1 loss to Gold Coast United last Sunday.

But with one match back at the helm under his belt, the coach will have started applying his own systems to a team that had previously been prepared for this campaign by former coach Branko Culina.

Ferguson, though, said the Jets may be a little less predictable this week as van Egmond’s changes start taking effect.

But the Glory coach said all his side could do was concentrate on themselves heading into Saturday’s encounter at Ausgrid Stadium.

“With Gary there, whatever formation he wants to put out there, I’m sure it’s going to be a very difficult game for us,” said Ferguson.

“He wants to stamp his own authority on his system and on the personnel he wants to bring in.”

“So we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves. I watched them last week and it’s going to be a very tough game for us so we’ve just got to make sure that we’re ready when we take on Newcastle.”

Having opened the season with three straight wins, the Glory suffered their first loss last week at Bluetongue Stadium in a 2-1 defeat by bogey side Central Coast.

Ferguson, though, isn’t too dispirited as his side dominated long stretches of the encounter and could have won the match had they taken their chances.

But Ferguson has focussed a great deal of attention on keeping possession at all the training sessions since that game, the coach attributing the two goals scored by the Mariners to plain old poor passes from defence.

“When I look back at the DVDs of the game, when we made the mistakes there were still plenty of defenders back there,” Ferguson said.

“We got breached twice by the Mariners but again it was self-inflicted from giving the ball away.”

“That’s what we’re going to work on this week, retaining the ball a little better and we can’t give it away against an opposition that will punish you.”

Ferguson said key defender Chris Coyne was still in doubt for this clash after being substituted out of last week’s match at the 20th minute mark with groin soreness. If he is unavailable he will join Steve Pantelidis (heel/Achilles), Evan Berger (hamstring) and reserve goalkeeper Neil Young (abdominal surgery) on the sidelines for this match.

If Coyne is unavailable, Josh Mitchell should take his place in the starting XI against a Jets’ strike force that should feature Francis Jeffers at some stage throughout the game.

Jeffers, who played with Newcastle last season as a guest signing, was released by Scottish club Motherwell in June. But the 30-year-old Englishman’s work visa has just been passed by Australian immigration authorities, allowing him to play.

And, there could even be more signings to come in the Jet’s front third as reports have emerged suggesting the club intend to apply for special dispensation which would see Iraqi midfielder Ali Abbas – who sought asylum in Australia during November 2007 after leaving an Iraq Under-23 tour – be re-classified as an Australian citizen.

If Abbas is successful it will free up an international position on the Jets’ roster, possibly allowing the club to bring former skipper Michael Bridges back into the fold, despite the English striker retiring last April due to chronic knee issues.