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Apr 13, 2012

Glory aiming to get over Gosford record

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is banking on recent form to help overcome his team's horrendous record against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford in Saturday's A-League preliminary final.

In-form Perth go into the clash on the back of high-scoring successive home wins over Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix, while the Mariners lost both legs of their major semi-final to Brisbane.

Glory haven't won in eight previous trips to Gosford.

"We've broken a lot of records this year and a lot of stats have been broken and hopefully this will be one more," Ferguson said on Friday."

Mariners coach Graham Arnold isn't putting too much emphasis on that statistic, even complimenting Perth on their improving away form.

However, Arnold believes his team's greater finals experience will be a telling factor, with Central Coast making the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons while Glory are first-timers.

"Over the past couple of years they have had a lot of trouble away from home and didn't win their away games. This year has been much better," said Arnold, who is also acutely aware of shutting down dangerous Perth striker Shane Smeltz.

"They've got a lot of experienced players in their team, but they don't have the most experience as a team in a finals series and I think that's where we should have the advantage, especially being at home.

"We've got quite a bit of experience in playing pressure games now, especially over the last couple of months.

"The more nerves hopefully will be on their players especially the two ex-Mariners, Danny Vukovic and Dean Heffernan, that haven't had too much finals experience in the last few years."

Ferguson anticipated a furious early onslaught.

"For the first 15 or 20 minutes the Mariners are going to throw everything at us and we've got to make sure we can cope with that and make sure we can hit them on the counter attack," Ferguson said.

Saturday's game is the start of a season-defining week for the Mariners, who play a crucial Asian Champions League game away to South Korean side Seongnam next Wednesday.

"We've got a massive week ahead and I said to the boys before training it's a big week that can put a lot of smiles on a lot of people's faces," Arnold said.

"With the game first on Saturday night and then we've got to go to South Korea for the Asian Champions League and hopefully we get through to the (A-League) grand final."

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