TOP Test to finish 2012

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is expecting Central Coast Mariners to provide a stern-test for his side on New Year's Eve, despite the fact that the men from Gosford will be without several of their key performers.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is expecting Central Coast Mariners to provide a stern-test for his side on New Year's Eve, despite the fact that the men from Gosford will be without several of their key performers.

Midfield duo Tomas Rogic and John Hutchinson and former Glory loanee Daniel McBreen will all miss the Bluetongue Stadium clash due to suspension in the wake of last week's defeat at the hands of Sydney FC, but Ferguson won't be underestimating the threat posed by the ladder leaders.

"The Mariners have a very good squad," he said, "and I don't look too much at the personnel that are going to be missing because I know they'll bring in decent players and still have the same structure and philosophy.

"They are very drilled in what they do and it's going to be a very difficult game. "We haven't got a great record over there, but in our last couple of visits, I think we've done well.

"Last season we won there in a penalty shoot-out and even though we lost 1-0 to them earlier this season, I certainly thought we deserved to get something out of that game.

"They are a very good side and their confidence will be high, but we're unbeaten in three now and we're looking forward to it.

"I'm quietly confident about us getting a result."

Ferguson went on to admit that he felt his side should have taken all three points from Thursday's home meeting with Western Sydney, before praising Ryo Nagai and substitutes Nick Ward and Billy Mehmet for the contribution they made on a sticky night at Patersons Stadium.

"I was disappointed that we didn't get the win," he said.

"I felt that we controlled the game for long periods, but we need to be a wee bit more penetrative than we're being and stop launching the long balls from back to front. "That's not the way I want us to play.

"I want us to play through the channels and the middle of the park and I want us to look for switches of play.

"I thought Ryo gave (Tarek) Elrich a bit of a game.

"It was Ryo's first start and we need to be careful with him over the next couple of games in terms of whether we bring him off the bench or whether we start him, because this is what happened last time we had two games in quick succession and he pulled his hamstring.

"But performance-wise, he did exactly what we wanted him to do which was good.

"He was isolating his marker one-on-one at times and he's got a good few tricks in his bag which he can come up with.

"I think the more game time he gets, the better player he'll become for us.

"I also look for a reaction from my substitutes and that's what I got when I brought Wardy and Mehmet on.

"I wanted them to change the game for us and they certainly did that."

In terms of early team news ahead of the long trip east, meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed that Travis Dodd will be fit to travel after shaking off a minor knee problem, leaving calf-injury victim Michael Thwaite as the only notable absentee from the travelling party.

And with last week's departure of youngster Kearyn Baccus freeing up a place in the squad, the Glory coach admitted that a new face may be brought on board once the January transfer window swings open.

"We're always looking at options we can bring in to freshen the place up," he said.

"We've got one free spot at the moment where we could possibly do something and we are always looking to improve."