READY for Victory

Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards believes that reclaiming their underdog status will help his side get back to winning ways at the expense of Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards believes that reclaiming their underdog status will help his side get back to winning ways at the expense of Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Three points for the visitors at AAMI Park would keep their finals hopes very much alive heading into the final game of the regular season and Edwards is quietly confident that his charges can replicate the 2-1 triumph they enjoyed in their most recent away outing at Newcastle.

"I thought they (the players) were a bit flat last week against Phoenix," he said.

"Maybe they didn-t handle being expected to win too well.

"This week, we're expected to lose and we've been underdogs quite a bit since I've been at the club, so maybe that tag fits us at this present moment.

"We've gone back to no-one expecting us to make the finals, so if the boys go out there and concentrate on just performing and not the result, I think you'll see the performance improve."

Edwards, of course, penned a new, three-year deal with the club earlier this week and feels that the playing group will benefit from the greater level of stability now in place at nib Stadium.

"It's good for the players to know who the coach is going to be moving forward," he said, "and I think you'll see us playing a lot freer as a result.

"A lot of players really wanted to know what was happening in terms of the direction of the club and with that put to bed now, it just means the guys can play with less anxiety and the focus can come off me a bit.

"I want to get the focus back onto the players because they are the ones who the fans want to see and they are the ones that win games or don't win games at the end of the day."

In terms of early team news, meanwhile, both sides will be without several key men due to international commitments, with Victory trio Marco Rojas, Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan all set to be unavailable along with Glory pair Michael Thwaite and Shane Smeltz and the visitors will also be denied Jacob Burns' services as he serves a one-match ban.

But Edwards is confident that he has enough strength in depth within his squad to make light of the big-name absentees and secure a third away win of the season.

"We've got to make a few changes," he said, "but Victory are in exactly the same situation.

"It's going to be a very difficult game as usual, but we're going there to try and get three points.

"We've got a squad of 23 with plenty of experience and some good players to come in.

"And the best thing about this squad is that we've got some really versatile players.

"Up front, we've got Travis Dodd, Chris Harold and Ryo Nagai who can all play there and provide us with good options.

"Not having Shane there, it adds a different dimension to the way we can play with a bit more mobility in those central areas and so we are looking for those three to run amuck in Melbourne.

"And (Steve) Pantelidis will come back in at the back as he's trained very well this week."

MELBOURNE VICTORY v PERTH GLORY Saturday, March 23 AAMI Park, Melbourne Kick-off: 2.30pm (Perth time)