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Jan 7, 2009

Roar chasing five more points: Farina

The formula for the Queensland Roar sealing an A-League finals berth is simple, according to coach Frank Farina.

But it won't be easy.

The Queensland mentor reckons five points from their final four games should get the fourth-placed Roar over the line in one of the competition's tightest finals races.

"The pass mark is really at the end of the season and that is to reach the four," Farina said.

"We haven't locked that away yet so that's really what we're looking at.

"From the last four games we need at least five points."

However, that is easier said than done.

The Roar are currently just inside the top four on 26 points, one ahead of nearest finals rivals Wellington but with a game in hand.

Their final run home in the regular season starts with three games within a week.

On paper Queensland could not have picked a more ideal start for their top four quest.

The Roar line up against the Central Coast Mariners at Gosford on Saturday night - a venue where they have never lost since the league's inception.

Their unbeaten five-game run at Bluetongue Stadium features two wins and three draws.

But Farina is not reading too much into statistics after suffering their first away loss of the season - last weekend's 2-1 defeat to ladder leaders the Victory at Melbourne.

"We hadn't lost away from home until last week so they're just stats," he said of their Gosford record.

"It comes down to us.

"I've been very happy with the attitude of the players this season and as long as we continue that, there's no reason why we can't go down and get the points."

After tackling the Mariners, Queensland travel to Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night in a match re-scheduled due to Adelaide's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The gruelling run also includes a home clash with Sydney FC on January 17.

Queensland's final regular season match is against lowly Perth on January 24 at Suncorp Stadium.

Third-placed Central Coast - just two points ahead of Queensland - will welcome back strikers Dylan Macallister and Matt Simon from suspension but will be without Turkey-bound midfielder Mile Jedinak.

The Roar have been encouraged by the sight of Scottish midfielder Charlie Miller donning the training gear this week following surgery on a double hernia last month.

The star import was limited to light jogging and passing drills but hoped to return to full training sooner rather than later.

"Obviously I'm still in pain after the operation but hopefully I'll be fit very soon," Miller said.

His absence has paved the way for exciting youngster Mitch Nichols to burst onto the scene.

In a blow to the Roar's finals run, goalkeeper Liam Reddy was ruled out of the Mariners clash with a hamstring strain on Wednesday.

Scans have revealed Reddy suffered damage to his left hamstring during a Tuesday morning training mishap.

He will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for the Adelaide game.

Griffin McMaster steps in for Reddy at a crucial stage of the season, just as he did with success last season.

Queensland have signed Brisbane Premier League `keeper Matt Ham, 25, from Redlands United as a short-term injury replacement.

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