Copyright Getty Images
IAN FERGUSON...McGarry to be left out again
PERTH Glory coach Ian Ferguson says he will stick with a winning formula for Saturday's A-League preliminary final against Central Coast.
Impressive performances off the bench from Steven McGarry, Scott Neville and winning goal scorer Todd Howarth in last Saturday's minor semi-final win against Wellington left Ferguson with a selection headache.
But Ferguson said he resisted the temptation to change the side from their win over Phoenix, in what is also a near-identical line-up to the one that beat Melbourne Heart 3-0 in the elimination final.
"As far as we're concerned it will be the same 11 that starts," Ferguson said.
"Considering all the injury worries we've had over the past few weeks, it's nice to get the same 11 on the park again.
"There's going to be a lot of disappointment for a lot of boys (who missed out). Every one of them has contributed this season and it's disappointing for them. But I've got to make some tough decisions."
Ferguson said attacking midfielder McGarry, the only player who dropped out of the starting 11 against Heart for the clash with the Phoenix as he made way for striker Billy Mehmet, had been closely considered to come in.
But the Scotsman is still battling the knee injury that almost saw him miss the thrilling victory over Wellington that put Perth within one win of a maiden A-League Grand Final appearance, which would see them face Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on April 22.
"There was a temptation there but Billy scored a goal for us, (Shane) Smeltzy is on fire, we're getting support from Liam (Miller) through the middle," Ferguson said.
"Stevie has still got a bit of a niggle but he should be able to get through again what he did the other night (coming in with 20 minutes left)."
While Glory will go in as underdogs, the Mariners have won just three of their past 14 games in all competitions dating back to the start of February.
But Ferguson said he was expecting a tough game at Bluetongue Stadium - a venue Perth have never won at.
"For the first 15 or 20 minutes the Mariners are going to throw everything at us and we've got to make sure we can cope with that and make sure we can hit them on the counter-attack," he said.
Glory captain Jacob Burns said there was massive excitement within the playing group ahead of the club's biggest match since the 2004 NSL Grand Final.
"It's something we've been striving for all season and to finally be here is a great occasion," Burns said.
"I don't think we have much to be nervous about. We're the underdogs. So we go out there and play the same way we have been and hopefully get the result."