Ferguson KEEPS the FAITH

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has called upon the club's fans to keep the faith ahead of Saturday's crunch clash with Wellington in Auckland.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has called upon the club's fans to keep the faith ahead of Saturday's crunch clash with Wellington in Auckland.

Despite recent results, the men in purple are still only two points outside the top six and Ferguson remains confident that his charges will be playing finals football come April.

"I've said before that Perth Glory is a team I think should be in the top six every year and that's what we're aiming for," he said.

"I still believe that we can get to the finals, I still believe that this squad is good enough to get to the finals.

"What gives me hope is that we are playing decent stuff, it's not as if we're getting smashed three or four-nil week-in, week-out.

"The belief and camaraderie is still there among the boys and we'll put a good team out that will hopefully match or better Wellington this weekend.

"There are a lot of disgruntled and frustrated fans at the moment, but as I said before, please stick with us.

"We had this last year and we got through it with their help and support.

"Now let's do the same again."

And Ferguson went on to insist that he retains the full support of club owner/chairman, Tony Sage.

"I'm feeling pretty comfortable with Tony," he said.

"Tony's been very positive and supportive and I'm really happy with where I'm at with him at the moment.

"We stay in touch two or three times a week and I give him the run-down on the team in terms of what's happening with personnel, suspensions, injuries and so on.

"We talk football and he can see, like everyone else, that we're just frustrated at the moment that we're not getting the results.

"But he can see that we're playing decent football.

"I know I'm in the firing line and if results don't go our way, I'm the first one to get his head chopped off, that's the nature of the business.

"But at the end of the day, I'm comfortable with Tony."

In terms of on-field matters, meanwhile, the Glory coach is expecting a tough test against Phoenix despite the fact that Ricki Herbert's men are currently propping up the ladder.

"Last time we went over there we won 1-0," he said, "but we know it's not going to be an easy game.

"They're sitting at the bottom of the league fighting for their lives and we're just on top of them, so it's a big, big game for both teams.

"It's like an away game for them as well, going to Auckland and we've got to be positive in what we're doing."

Ferguson went on to confirm that Josh Risdon and Liam Miller will both return to the squad having served their respective one-match bans, but that Shane Smeltz (hip) and Jacob Burns (back) will unfortunately again miss out through injury.

"Miller and Risdon coming back will give us those extra options out wide and in the middle," he said, "and with Smeltzy out, we'll put Doddsy (Travis Dodd) up there again and hopefully he'll hit the net this week.

"(Dean) Heffernan will also come back into the squad and everyone else will be the same as last week."