Perth Glory worried about rival poaching
Perth coach Ian Ferguson is worried rival A-League clubs will poach some of his best players when the Glory embarks on a cost-cutting mission next season.
Fifteen Glory players, including those on short term deals, are coming out of contract at season's end, with the likes of Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns, Billy Mehmet, Adam Taggart, Steven McGarry, Josh Mitchell and Andrezinho sure to attract plenty of interest from rival A-League clubs.
Glory owner Tony Sage is keen to cut back on player wages next season in a bid to stem the club's hefty financial losses.
Even Ferguson's future remains up in the air beyond this campaign, with the Scotsman likely to need a finals finish in order to secure a fresh deal.
Ferguson said although he was doing the groundwork needed to retain key players, only so much could be done with limitations regarding the budget.
"Things have changed ... the budget is coming down," Ferguson said.
"I can understand where the club's going and why they're doing it.
"Tony can't sustain what he's been doing over the past four or five years.
"I don't want to dismantle what I've built and I want us to get stronger for next year.
"That's been my two or three year plan, to make sure that we've got the blocks in place, and it is a worry (we could lose core players)."
Perth will be aiming to make it seven unbeaten games on the trot when they take on eighth-placed Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
And with the Glory just two points adrift of third-placed Wellington, former Socceroos winger Sterjovski said the club should be eyeing a top-three berth.
"We're sitting fifth on the table now and we're only a few points from third, so if we can keep going like this and keep winning games, we can finish in the top three easily I think," Sterjovski said.
"If we win on the weekend it puts us eight points clear of Adelaide.
"The confidence is pretty high at the moment."
Adelaide will again be without defender Cassio (foot), but United coach John Kosmina is confident midfielder Zenon Caravella will play a part against the Glory after recovering from a groin injury.
However, Glory winger Travis Dodd (abdominal tear) will be a noticeable absentee, meaning Reds fans will have to wait until at least the round 22 fixture before seeing the ex-Adelaide skipper return to his former stomping ground.
Adelaide, who drew 1-1 with Newcastle on Wednesday, sit four points adrift of sixth spot and are in desperate need of a win in order to boost their finals hopes.