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Apr 19, 2012

Glory to gamble for A-League grand final

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is leaning towards taking a double punt on the injury front in Sunday's A-League grand final against Brisbane Roar, with winger Andrezinho and midfielder Liam Miller likely to retain their starting roles.

Andrezinho, who injured his groin in last Saturday's preliminary final win over Central Coast, has failed to train all week but flew over to Brisbane with the rest of the squad on Friday.

Ferguson said he would make a final call on Andrezinho at training on Saturday but rated the 27-year-old as a 60 per cent chance to start against the Roar.

Miller's chances are even stronger, with the former Manchester United midfielder almost certain to play despite experiencing tightness in his hamstring at training on Wednesday.

"Liam Miller has come back and the scans have been great so there's no problems at all," Ferguson said at Perth Airport on Friday.

"There's no tear or anything, no strain, so hopefully he should take his place.

"He's too important a player to leave out and he's been influential in the last three or four games for us in there with Jacob Burns.

"It's a gamble we'll have to take but I'm sure he's going to be OK."

Attacking midfielder Steve McGarry, who is carrying a knee injury, will start on the bench.

The Roar have enjoyed the wood over Perth this season, posting crushing 4-0 and 3-0 wins either side of a 3-3 draw.

But Ferguson believed his team would be far better prepared and more settled this time around, and were looking forward to proving their critics wrong.

"We've been slaughtered from day one," Ferguson said.

"We're in a grand final and we're still getting it, (people saying) we've just got a long ball game or we play unattractive football.

"We're there and that's the main thing."

Perth's season looked dead and buried in late December when they slipped to eighth on the table following a morale-sapping 3-1 home loss to Central Coast.

But a run of 12 wins and three draws from their past 18 games has left the Glory squad oozing confidence ahead of the biggest game of the year.

Even Ferguson is daring to dream, with the 45-year-old desperate to get his hands on some silverware after being part of two losing grand finals as an assistant coach with Central Coast.

"Hopefully third time lucky that we can go in there and get a winners' medal," said Ferguson, whose transformation of Perth Glory was rewarded with a two-year contract extension last month.

Despite Brisbane being hot favourites to secure their second straight championship, Glory winger Travis Dodd believed the Roar were beatable.

"Certainly we believe there are weak points in the squad and we're certainly going to look out to exploit them," Dodd said.

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