Perth Glory midfielder Travis Dodd believes there is sufficient squad depth for Saturday’s vital clash with Brisbane Roar.
Defensive trio Bas van den Brink, Steve Pantelidis and Michael Thwaite are all battling to prove their fitness ahead of the grand final re-match, while Liam Miller is suspended and Glory’s ranks have been further depleted by the recent departures of Billy Mehmet and Jesse Makarounas.
“This week will be a massive test of depth for the squad,” said Dodd, “but if nothing else, it gives a great opportunity for the fringe players and the young boys to come in and stake a claim for a spot.
“With Liam being out, we’ve got Brandon O’Neill who could certainly come in and then the big one for the gaffer could be reshuffling the backline depending on whether Bas, Pante or Thwaitey are available.
“There’s a number of options he could use there.”
The hosts desperately need three points from the nib Stadium showdown having slipped out of the top six with two wins from 12 games.
They have managed to score only 11 goals during that form slump, but Dodd feels that a more central approach may be the key to hitting the back of the net on a more regular basis and turning his side’s campaign around.
“We did a video session on last weekend’s game already,” he said, “and possession was quite good and we created a few opportunities.
“We talked about the things we need to do better this week in order to turn those opportunities into goals, because ultimately that’s what we’re lacking at the moment. “We’ve said it in the past that we haven’t been scoring enough goals and unfortunately, it’s crept back in.
“It’s pretty easy to see that a lot of our opportunities are coming from crosses from out wide and we’ve spoken about how we can create other opportunities using Smeltzy (Shane Smeltz) a bit better, bringing him and (Steven) McGarry into the game a bit more.”
McGarry, meanwhile, believes that the club’s senior players have a vital role to play in attempting to steer the men in purple back into the winners’ circle.
“The fans are getting frustrated and the players are getting frustrated,” he said, “but us experienced players just need to take a bit of extra responsibility right now.
“We need to stand up and be counted and help the younger lads who are in the team.”
And the Scot remains confident that both Glory and the equally out-of-form Roar will still figure prominently come finals time.
“It’s funny how the two teams that made the grand final have ended up in this position,” he said.
“I still think Brisbane are a very good team, but like us, they’ve found it hard to click this year.
“But there’s still time left for both sides to make a run, so it’s definitely a big game and it’ll be a tough one.
“The grand final is in the past and none of the boys really bring that up anymore.
“We’re just concentrating now on getting as many points as possible on the board before the games run out.
“We’re desperate, first and foremost, to get a finals spot and then build from that.”