Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has moved to assure under-scrutiny coach Ian Ferguson that his future is secure despite a dire run of results.
While a show of support from the board or owner of a club is often the prelude to a swift axing, minerals magnate Sage is adamant that Ferguson – who took Glory to last season’s A-League grand final – also retains the backing of his players and will guide the club to the play-offs.
“Fergie dug us out of a hole last season and he will do so again,” he said.
“He has has 18 months left on his contract and I am comfortable with him in charge. I talk with the players all the time and they share that view.
“If we were getting beaten comprehensively each week I’d be a very worried man and the players would be devastated. What we need most is an ounce of luck.
“The reality is that we are only three points from fifth spot on the ladder, so it would be ludicrous for anybody to write off our finals prospects.
“I am convinced we will be there at the business end and will give it a good shake. Obviously a top-four finish is probably out of reach, so essentially you have six teams chasing two spots [fifth and sixth] and we’re in that group.
"We have conceded the third fewest goals in the league  so we are solid at the back.
“We've lost seven games 1-0 – so it’s obvious we need to score a few more. And, yes, the players have lost a little confidence. But nobody is thrashing us.
“Against Brisbane Roar last weekend [another 1-0 loss] we had six of our best players out but were still the better side.”
The club’s tally of 18 goals from 18 games remains the lowest in the competition.
Even though Glory looks set to miss out on the chance to host a home final, Sage remains bullish, adding: “It’s going to be a fantastic series this year and nobody should write us off after what we achieved last year.”
With ninth-placed Glory seeking to pick up at least a point from its voyage to bottom club Wellington on Saturday to avoid being leap-frogged, Sage said: “It’s way to early to draw conclusions even if we do lose and go bottom.
“The finals series this year is easier than last year in the way it’s structured and I am certain we will be involved again. You win two games and you’re in the grand final.
“If you asked Ange Postecoglou and Graham Arnold at Central Coast who they would like to meet in a final and I bet you Perth Glory is not at the top of their list.”
Sage blames Glory's rotten run – only two wins from 13 games – on a string of injuries and absences involving key players.
“Michael Thwaite has missed eight games this season, Jacob Burns has missed four, Liam Millar has missed four, Shane Shane Smeltz has missed seven – you tell me any A-League team that would not suffer as a result of that?” he asked.
Burns (back) and Smeltz (groin) will not travel to Wellington.
It had to wait until the last game of the last round but Sydney FC has finally booked its place in the A-League finals with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory.