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Glory receive timely boost

25 March 2012 14:06

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson expects the club's finals campaign to receive a boost with a quartet of injured regulars in line to return.

Jacob Burns (ribs), Liam Miller, Josh Mitchell (both back) and Bas van den Brink (calf) all missed the Glory's 4-2 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, which came via Shane Smeltz's four-goal haul.

But Ferguson said he was confident the injured four would be back for their home elimination final on April 1 against Melbourne Heart.

In a further boost, Ferguson said the hamstring issue that forced attacking midfielder Steven McGarry off at half-time against the Victory was likely to be just muscle tightness.

Ferguson was also pleased with the way Scott Neville fared in his first appearance back from a knee injury that had kept him out since October.

"It's all positive, it's all good news," Ferguson said.

"Some of them will be in training (Sunday) and we're hoping we'll have four or five of them back.

"Liam will pick his up, Burnsy I'm sure will get through it no problem - he's one of these types of players who won't want to miss this anyway - and Mitchell looks okay.

"Van den Brink was just more of a precaution. He felt a little niggle in his calf so we didn't take any chances so he reckons he's on the mend."

Perth's injury problems were so severe that Ferguson was forced to hand young midfielder Brandon O'Neill his first A-League start against the Victory, while seldom-used duo Jesse Makarounas and Tommy Amphlett, plus debutant Sam Mitchinson, came off the bench.

But inexperience did not prove a stumbling block, with Smeltz's incredible display helping the Glory twice come back from a goal down.

"Strikers can go through these barren spells where they're missing chances or not scoring goals or not playing well but you can always rely on Smeltzy," Ferguson said.

"He's that type of player who will always bounce back and shut the critics up and put the goals in the net."

Meanwhile, Ferguson said he was due to meet club owner Tony Sage on Monday to discuss his future.

The coach said he was cautiously optimistic of receiving a new contract.

"Tony has been great and it's all looking very positive at the moment," Ferguson said.

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 27 +43 66
2 27 +18 49
3 27 +6 42
4 27 +5 39
5 27 +0 39
6 27 +0 36
7 27 -5 30
8 27 -21 23
9 27 -21 23
10 27 -25 22

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