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Apr 2, 2013

Glory heap pressure on Melbourne Victory

Perth Glory enter the A-League finals as rank underdogs - and it's just the way they like it.

The Glory only just scraped into the playoffs on goal difference, and aren't expected to progress past Melbourne Victory in Friday night's elimination final at Etihad Stadium.

But the one thing counting in Perth's favour is their ability to perform under intense pressure.

When Alistair Edwards took over as coach seven weeks ago, Glory were dead last on the ladder and only a long shot to make the finals.

Every game became a crunch clash, with the club having little room for error.

Four wins and a draw from the last seven games was enough to secure sixth spot.

Now, Perth are eager to apply the blowtorch to the Victory, who many predicted would win the championship at the start of the season after snaring master coach Ange Postecoglou.

"With Ange going to Melbourne, people were saying they were going to win the title by 10, 20 points," Glory defender Scott Jamieson said.

"Their crowd were always saying they were going to win it.

"They've had a lot of stand-out players, so there's no reason why they shouldn't be favourites.

"But we've been playing finals football for the last six weeks. That's the biggest advantage for us.

"They haven't had that do-or-die scenario. We've got that in our locker and we'll try and draw on that and use it to our advantage."

Jamieson is in his first season at the Glory, and said he was surprised at how little the rest of the country cared about the club.

"I saw the A-League highlights show and we were last, and only on for about two minutes," Jamieson said.

"The eastern states don't really take notice of us, and it's a good thing."

The Glory beat Victory 3-2 at AAMI Park a fortnight ago, but Melbourne were without star trio Marco Rojas, Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson in that game.

Perth will be boosted by the return of Liam Miller from suspension for Friday's game, while striker Shane Smeltz is a good chance to play despite still nursing a big gash on his forehead.

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