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Mar 16, 2012

A-League stakes high for Glory, United

The stakes might be high for Perth Glory in their A-League clash at Skilled Park on Sunday.

But what they are playing for pales in comparison to what opponents Gold Coast United have on the line.

Perth can ensure their first home final in the A-League era with victory over the dead-last United.

However, a desperate Gold Coast will have their future at stake after all but pleading with locals to pack Skilled Park in a bid to attract potential investors.

United's fate appears bleak after billionaire Clive Palmer was stripped of the licence.

But Football Federation Australia boss Ben Buckley has kept the door ajar, saying a big Gold Coast crowd would only benefit talks he had begun with "interested parties" over the Gold Coast licence.

"Poor attendance has not helped our case in finding new owners," United's Kiwi international keeper Glen Moss told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"If we as a club can't prove to potential investors that there is strong support from the community, then we might be flogging a dead horse.

"The message is simple. If you want a professional football club on the Gold Coast, then show up to the games."

Glory coach Ian Ferguson knew exactly what to expect from a young United team on Sunday.

"They may not or they may be (playing next season). That's a question for the FFA," he said.

"But these players are going out there to do their best and they're causing teams problems.

"We've got to make sure we don't go up there and underestimate these kids because they've got no fear and they're a team with plenty of mobility and energy."

But the Glory won't be short of motivation either despite already locking up a finals spot for only the second time in the A-League.

"This could secure you a top-four position (and home final) if you get a win and hopefully the next week we can secure a top-three position - that's what's at stake here," Ferguson said.

"Even though we've reached our target of top six, we're not happy to just accept that.

"We want to go on and do the best we can and aspire to better things.

"If we want to go on and try to get to grand finals, then there's certain games you have to win and this is one of them."

To do so, they will have to overcome injury - and history.

Jacob Burns (ribs) and Liam Miller (hamstring) are out - although Shane Smeltz returns to the starting side in his first appearance on the tourist strip since leaving United at the end of last season.

And remarkably, the Glory have a 1-16 record in Queensland.

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