Glory still chasing finals

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson believes a late run to the finals is still not beyond his side.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson believes a late run to the finals is still not beyond his side.

Sitting third-last on the table, Perth’s record of just one win from their last 14 games suggests the finals may be beyond the Western Australians, especially as they have played 19 of 30 matches while fellow challengers Newcastle and Sydney FC have played just 15 and 16 respectively.

But Ferguson feels an encouraging performance against league leader Brisbane in a 3-2 loss last week and Sunday’s 1-1 draw with North Queensland with nine men, suggests there is enough quality in Perth’s side to make a late run.

“The focus for me and the team is that we try and get into the top six,” declared Ferguson on Wednesday.

“It’s still achievable. I think there are three four teams that are way beyond everybody else and these other two places are probably open.”

The club enjoys their first bye of the season this weekend, ahead of playing Central Coast on December 12 at nib Stadium, Ferguson saying it was vital the Glory use the extra time to get injured players like Andy Todd (hip) and Jamie Harnwell (calf) back on the park.

“The rest period is obviously crucial,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of injuries now. Hopefully we can try and mend them up and get them back on the park as soon as possible.”

“We’re going to be working hard over the next two weeks. Everybody keeps saying it’s a rest period (but) the boys are going to be working hard, we’ve got to keep our fitness up and we’ve got to work on a lot more shape.”

“(But) the priority is to try and get everybody fit first and foremost, get our experienced players back and hopefully they can drive us forward until January.”

“Then hopefully we can try and get one or two players in. We’re hoping that Chris Coyne will be okay to come back in, we’re hoping to try and get a guest player and a replacement for Victor Sikora,” he said, referring to the latter’s season-ending hip injury.

“If we can get one or two players in to try and freshen the place up it can give us a lift,” said Ferguson, who has previously refused to give anything away in regards to who the club is targeting.

“I know last year Mitch (former coach Dave Mitchell) brought in Daniel McBreen and Steve McGarry and it gave us a huge lift and we went on to make the finals.”

“But again we’ve got to make sure we get the right people in.”

“If we can do it, then I’ve got the confidence in these players to try and get us to the finals.”

Ferguson said Harnwell would not train properly until next week, while the club was waiting on scans to assess Todd’s injury.

If neither play against the Mariners, then Perth could still be light on in defence as defenders Naum Sekulovski and Brent Griffiths will be suspended for the next game after their dismissals against North Queensland, along with Mile Sterjovski, who has accumulated five yellow cards and will serve a mandatory one-match suspension.

Skipper Jacob Burns is also having treatment on a hip injury, while midfielder Adriano Pellegrino may also be a concern after receiving some physio work on the sidelines during Wednesday’s light training session.

While all those players are under an injury cloud, the team will be boosted by the returns of Scott Neville and Josh Mitchell from suspension, after both were dismissed against Brisbane Roar the previous game and banned for one match.