Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou believes his A-League champions have a great opportunity to dispel lingering doubts they can't win without linchpin Thomas Broich in Saturday night's pivotal away clash with Perth Glory.
Broich has been ruled out of the second versus third blockbuster with a shoulder injury, leaving the Roar vulnerable against a Glory outfit that has won six of their past eight matches to close to within four points of second spot.
But the Glory were also dealt a major blow on Friday, with star striker Shane Smeltz (ankle) and midfielder Liam Miller (hamstring) ruled out through injury.
Brisbane's struggles without Broich have been evident for all to see this season, with the Roar losing five straight games immediately after the German playmaker succumbed to a heel complaint last December.
But Postecoglou remains defiant, saying his team are good enough to win without Broich.
"If people have doubts about us without Thomas, there's only one way to dispel those doubts," Postecoglou told reporters on Friday.
"Obviously, Thomas has been playing well for us.
"It's just another challenge. It's good.
"We're not clear of third spot at the moment. It's a big game for both clubs. They can bridge a gap on us and we can certainly cement second spot.
"It's a good one - these are the games you want leading into a finals series."
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson said Broich's absence didn't mean his team could rest easy.
"They're not just a one-man band," Ferguson said.
"You've got (Mitch) Nichols there. You've got (Besart) Berisha there up front. You've got (Sayed) Adnan from the back that can get on set pieces and take set pieces."
Ferguson said he would have played Smeltz this week had it been a major final.
"He could get through 60, 70 minutes but then you might miss him for the next four or five weeks. So that's not what I want to do," Ferguson said.
Brisbane remain intent on eating into Central Coast's six-point ladder lead.
And although Olyroos representatives Matt Jurman and Rocky Visconte are expected to return against Perth, midfielder Massimo Murdocca is set to remain in Brisbane as his wife gives birth to their first child.