Monday, January 28, 2013
Roar and Glory now A-League strugglers
By Justin Chadwick and Laine Clark
Nine months ago, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory were the cream of the crop fighting it out for A-League supremacy.But come this Saturday night at nib Stadium, last season's grand finalists will be merely battling for survival as the race for finals spots intensifies.Brisbane - winners of the past two championships - have endured a horror season to date.Coach Rado Vidosic fell on his sword after guiding the team to just three wins from their first 11 games, while his replacement Mike Mulvey has also failed to spark the ninth-placed Roar, who are four points adrift of the top-six.Perth are faring only marginally better, with Ian Ferguson's charges sitting just two points ahead of the Roar in eighth spot following a five-game winless run.The heat is on both Mulvey and Ferguson to start producing results but both coaches will be without a host of key players for this week's crunch clash.Socceroos defender Jade North, who linked up with the Roar earlier this month, isn't yet ready for action, while Brisbane skipper Matt Smith will visit a specialist next Friday to determine whether he requires season-ending surgery to his hip.To compound the Roar's woes, key duo Besart Berisha and Shane Stefanutto are serving suspensions.Perth have also been hit by suspension, with midfielder Liam Miller and defender Josh Risdon forced to watch on from the sidelines this week.Dutchman Bas van den Brink is also set to miss the match with an injured calf, but Socceroos defender Michael Thwaite is a strong chance to return after missing the past four matches with a torn calf.Perth haven't tasted victory since beating Brisbane 1-0 on December 21, and Ferguson said his team would be satisfied with merely making the top-six now after falling 10 points behind fourth spot."The top four at the moment seems to be getting away from us," Ferguson said."We've got to try to make that top six."Interim Roar coach Mulvey, whose future has been guaranteed until the end of the season despite the club's recent three-game losing run, said it was too early to write off his team's finals chances, even if they ended up losing to Perth."I don't believe in do-or-die games," Mulvey said."This is important but not a must-win situation."