Glory eye fresh start

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is hoping the Christmas break will allow his side to put a disappointing run behind them and come back refreshed for a tough stretch of games.

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is hoping the Christmas break will allow his side to put a disappointing run behind them and come back refreshed for a tough stretch of games.

Glory's struggles continued when they suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners, meaning Ian Ferguson's side have won just one of their past nine games.

That stretch, from which they have taken just four points, has seen Perth slide out of a top six spot and put Ferguson and his players under significant pressure to meet their lofty pre-season expectations.

And with a run of six games which sees Glory face six of the top seven sides, including four games on the road, it won't get any easier for Ferguson's side.

But the coach said it was vital they went into the stretch, which begins at Newcastle on New Year's Eve, high on self-belief.

"I just had a chat with the boys there, saying 'it's Christmas, go home and enjoy your couple of days', but we need to come back focused," Ferguson said.

"We need to be ready for the challenges ahead of us, because we've got a big one coming up in the next one against Newcastle."

"They (Newcastle) are probably down as well because they've just had a big defeat as well so we've got to go there with confidence and try to play and get three points."

Perth's cause against the Mariners was made much harder by the controversial red card to central defender Josh Mitchell just 26 minutes in, with Ferguson describing it as a "disgraceful and terrible" decision and saying the club would appeal.

After a positive first-half performance, even after going down to 10 men, Central Coast's pressure was too much for the Glory to overcome in a 15-minute stretch where Bernie Ibini, Pedj Bojic and Matt Simon all scored before substitute Steve McGarry netted a late consolation goal.

"We tried to keep the two up front and give us some options up front," Ferguson said.

"But they played a smart game, they opened us up two or three times and they scored the goals."

Marquee striker Shane Smeltz was substituted early in the second half, but Ferguson said there was no serious injury.

"His groin tightened up just before half-time so, rather than take any risks, we decided it's better he miss half a game rather than missing four or five for us," he said.

"We've got enough injuries at the moment."