Coyne backs stronger defence

Perth Glory skipper Jamie Coyne feels his side's improving defence will be sternly tested by the Mariners on Friday night.

Perth Glory skipper Jamie Coyne feels his side's improving defence will be sternly tested by the Mariners on Friday night.

After conceding 12 goals from the season's opening four games, Perth kept its first clean sheet of the year - and its first in 19 matches - in a 1-0 victory over Wellington last weekend.

Coyne said the inclusion of veteran defender Jamie Harnwell and defensive midfielder Wayne Srhoj, in his Hyundai A-League debut, helped shore up the side's leaky defence.

But he admitted Wellington's defensive game plan, which isolated striker Shane Smeltz at the front, played into Perth's hands and the young skipper knows Central Coast's in-form forwards Matt Simon, Sasho Petrovski and Dylan Macallister will be another matter entirely.

"Last week, there was just the one striker for the two centre halves to mark and they did a good job of it," said Coyne. "But this week, obviously they'll have their hands a bit fuller."

"I think Central Coast will be looking for three points and they'll really be wanting to cement their spot in the top four by doing that."

"Matty Simon's come off a good game, Petrovski's always hard and bringing Macallister off the bench does show the depth that they do have."

"It's going to be a very hard 90 minutes but I think we're up to the challenge," Coyne said.

Coyne admitted Perth's attacking style in the first four matches had probably contributed to some of the goals conceded, but said the inclusion of Srhoj just in front of the back four, meant the side could block opposition counter-attacks more effectively.

And he stressed this extra defensive mindset would be necessary against the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium, especially as Central Coast is still looking for its first home win of the season after conceding a late equaliser to Melbourne in a 2-2 result last weekend.

"We set out with a game plan to just tighten things up a little bit more (last week) and the structure was probably a little bit better," Coyne said.

"We were probably better organised and we weren't as full on attacking wise so that's given us a fair bit of confidence going into the Central Coast game."

"Obviously (they're) coming off a game where they'd be pretty disappointed they didn't take the three points, playing against 10 men for a bit there."

"But there's no reason why we can't go there and hopefully frustrate them a bit and come away with the three points."

Glory coach Dave Mitchell has essentially maintained his faith in the side that defeated Wellington, with the only inclusion to the squad being goalkeeper Frank Juric, who replaces Tando Velaphi.

Velaphi, however, will be playing in the Glory's inaugural National Youth League match against Central Coast, which will also be played at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday ahead of the senior teams' clashing.