HIGH Stakes This SATURDAY

Perth Glory midfielder Jacob Burns has admitted that his side will have to be at their best to counter the threat posed by in-form Melbourne Victory frontmen Archie Thompson and the Kiwi Messi Marco Rojas in Saturday night's high-stakes clash at nib Stadium.

Perth Glory midfielder Jacob Burns has admitted that his side will have to be at their best to counter the threat posed by in-form Melbourne Victory frontmen Archie Thompson and the Kiwi Messi Marco Rojas in Saturday night's high-stakes clash at nib Stadium.

But while acknowledging the quality of the prolific pairing, who have notched 15 goals and a hatful of assists between them this term, the home skipper feels that his own side have enough attacking talent to test out a Victory defence that has shipped 27 goals in 16 games.

"We've got to be very mindful of the pace of Thompson and Rojas up front," he said, "and that's something we've been working on all week and will continue to do ahead of Saturday.

"We've seen the combination time and time again with Rojas and Archie getting down the wings, crossing balls for each other and getting on the end of things.

"And we have to be very mindful of that, especially at home when we're pressing and playing a certain brand of football and trying to attack.

"We need to make sure that we lock up shop when they are trying to break forward and counter them when we can.

"But if there's something we can exploit, I think it's their defence.

"They've got very capable players going forward in (Marcos) Flores, Rojas and Thompson, but I think we do too if you look at our personnel and we're going to test them down their end as well."

Ange Postecoglou's men will head west occupying third place on the ladder and Burns believes that three points are vital if the hosts are to overhaul them in the race for the finals.

"It's a must-win," he said.

"The next two games for us are against tough teams that we know well.

"Victory have been in very good form and are sitting above us in the table, so it's an opportunity to test ourselves, I think, against one of the best attacking teams in the league at this moment.

"We've been strong at home and obviously we want to continue that form.

"Our target remains the same; to go one better than last year and that never changes."

And the 34-year-old believes that despite recent results, the side's overall performances are a genuine cause for optimism heading into the business end of the season.

"No-one has had more possession or more chances than us," he said.

"We've just fallen for a sucker punch in a few of the games.

"We've got to be more focused in transition and really tighten up when we've got a lead.

"It's a harder pill to swallow when you're playing well and not getting the results, that's for sure and in a lot of cases this year, we've been the better team without getting the end product.

"But I think we can take some positives out of the way we've been playing and the chances we've been creating."

Glory could be set to receive a major boost ahead of the Victory clash, meanwhile, with calf injury-victim Michael Thwaite closing in on a return to full fitness and Burns will be delighted to see the cultured Socceroos defender back on board.

"Thwaitey's been on the paddock most of this week," he said, "and he's looking really good.

"The medical staff will know more on whether he's a chance for the weekend, but to see him running again is great and we'd welcome him back with open arms.

"With Thwaitey, he offers that calmness on the ball, that ability to play out from the back and I think we've missed him in the last few weeks."