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Burns fears Victory attack

Perth Glory skipper Jacob Burns said Melbourne Victory’s star forwards Marco Rojas and Archie Thompson are his side’s biggest threat.

The two sides are set to meet on Saturday night at nib Stadium, with Victory sitting pretty in third spot on the table while Glory are battling for a finals spot in sixth.

Burns, however, was also keen to talk up his side’s own attacking prowess, which is highlighted by Shane Smeltz, Ryo Nagai and Travis Dodd.

“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.”

And although an indifferent run of form has left the men in purple eight points adrift of third-placed Victory, Burns believes his side’s recent performances have been better than their results and that last season’s beaten grand finalists can still have a major say in this year’s competition.

“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.

“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.

“The Victory game is a must-win.

“They’ve 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.”

The 34-year-old received treatment for what appeared to be a thigh strain during Tuesday’s training session, but swiftly returned to the main group where he could well be joined by Michael Thwaite later in the week.

The influential defender has missed the last three games after picking up a calf injury in the draw with Western Sydney, but could force his way back into coach Ian Ferguson’s plans for Saturday.

“Thwaitey’s been on the paddock most of this week and he’s looking really good,” said Burns.

“The medical staff will know more on whether or not 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.

“His form speaks for itself as he’s been back in the Socceroos (squad) and doing ever so well.

“When he’s fit and ready, without risking anything, the sooner the better for us.”

Tue 15 January, 2013
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