Shane Smeltz scored four goals against Melbourne last season. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/perthnow.com.au
Perth Glory will be bidding to start in the top six when it faces third placed Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium on Saturday night. Four games without a win since Christmas has left Perth in a fight to make the playoffs, while Victory has emerged as a serious premiership contender after winning just one of its opening four matches.
Ian Ferguson has added three players to the squad that was flattered by a 3-2 scoreline away to Adelaide United last week after scoring two goals in the final couple of minutes. Although they managed to find the back of the net twice against the team with the fourth best defensive record in the League, scoring goals has been a real problem for Perth. With 18 goals from 16 matches during the current campaign, the Glory has scored the fewest goals in the competition, even with leading marksman Shane Smeltz in the ranks. Despite scoring three goals in his past two matches, the pressure on him has mounted further recently, with Billy Mehmet leaving the club to join Thai outfit Bangkok Glass.
Melbourne Victory travel to Perth without suspended midfielder Billy Celeski, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in his team’s 1-1 draw with the Mariners last week. Ange Postecoglou’s side wasted plenty of chances against the competition leaders last week and will need to be more clinical in front of goal against the defensive-minded Glory. Despite losing playmaker Gui Finkler for the season with a knee injury, Melbourne still boasts a glut of attacking weapons with the likes of Archie Thompson , Marcos Flores and Marco Rojas in the ranks.
Perth has a strong record against Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium having won eight of the 11 matches between the pair at the ground, while the visitors have collected the three points twice with the other match ending in a draw . Victory were 1-0 winners when the sides did battle in Melbourne earlier this season, but Perth were 4-2 victors – with Shane Smeltz scoring all four goals –when the sides met here last March.
Click here to bet on A-League matches