Ferguson wants more grunt

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has called on his players to get their grunt back and apply some serious physical pressure to the Newcastle Jets when the two sides meet on New Year's Eve.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has called on his players to get their grunt back and apply some serious physical pressure to the Newcastle Jets when the two sides meet on New Year's Eve.

Having taken maximum points in just one of their last nine matches, Glory have slumped from second on the Hyundai A-League table to seventh as they travel to the Hunter Valley for a big Saturday night clash with the equally out-of-form Jets.

Ferguson's side will be missing injured striker Shane Smeltz (groin) and suspended defender Josh Mitchell, but the coach expects his side to overcome these losses through some amped-up physical pressure, something they've been working on since last Friday's 3-1 loss to league leader, Central Coast.

"We've got to go out there and make sure we're in people's faces now," declared a bullish Ferguson ahead of flying from Perth on Friday morning.

"I feel as though we've not been doing that for the last four or five weeks and that's what we worked on very hard (at training)."

"(We've worked on) a high press and keeping our shape and our structure to make sure that teams are not getting the time that we've been given them to play football."

"We've been giving people running off us too much time on the ball (so they) make telling passes that are hurting us at this moment in time."

"We want to make sure, now, that we're putting teams on the back foot."

Ferguson said former Gold Coast United hard man Steve Pantelidis would take Mitchell's position in central defence, while youngster Adam Taggart was a chance to make his first-team debut to replace Smeltz.

Former Melbourne Victory left-back Evan Berger has also been included in the travelling party.

Ferguson said he still felt Mitchell's dismissal against Central Coast in the 26th minute, for a sliding tackle where the defender still made contact with the ball before his follow through took his leg into Oliver Bozanic's shin, wasn't worth a red card.

But the coach said it wasn't worth appealing the mandatory one-match suspension for a send-off.

"As a club we sat down and we had a look at it with the CEO and we just felt that you've got to be hundred percent sure," said Ferguson, when asked if an appeal was considered against the card.

"If you're not a hundred percent sure - and in my opinion again, I don't think it was a sending off, I think the worst was a booking but I don't think it was a sending off - if you appeal it and they over-turn it, it means you get punished for another match."

"I've no centre halves at this moment in time," he added, referring to long-term injuries to Chris Coyne and Scott Neville. "So I couldn't take that gamble."