Glory playing for pride

Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell has been left lamenting a season of missed opportunity heading into the club's final-round match against Queensland on Saturday.

Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell has been left lamenting a season of missed opportunity heading into the club's final-round match against Queensland on Saturday.

Speaking after training on Thursday, Mitchell reflected on the season that was, saying his side demonstrated its quality throughout the latter part of the campaign but wasn't able to catch up following a poor run with injuries and results over the first few rounds.

But having established the club as a competitive unit, Mitchell said it was vital to press Queensland all the way at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, despite the club being out of finals contention and going into the match with a threadbare squad hit hard by injuries and overseas trials/loans to several players.

"We're playing for pride," Mitchell declared. "And, when you say there's nothing to play for there's always that."

"We want to stop them winning the premiership," he said referring to the fact a Queensland win coupled with losses by Adelaide and Melbourne could take the Roar to the top of the table after the final round.

"There's something to play for, for them, it's a big game for them and we want to make it a big game."

"They're a good side, so it will be a good challenge for us and that's what I want, I want the boys to be up for a challenge."

Mitchell said he'd spent many nights thinking about the club's losses and draws this season, particularly matches where the club conceded late goals.

"For weeks I've been doing that," he said. "When you look at the table and you think there's a couple of games where we were hard done by and a couple of games which we could have shut out a bit better."

"I thought we had a good enough side at the start of the season and I think injuries took a big toll early."

"It took us a while to get going from that and once we did I think we hit our straps and the season ran out on us really."

"But that's hindsight now and hopefully we can learn from that and move on."

A win over Queensland, though, will be particularly welcome to the Glory as Perth hasn't beaten the Roar since early 2005-06, the longest winless streak between clubs in the Hyundai A-League's four-year history.

The Glory's chances of achieving this should be boosted, however, by the possible return of star striker Nikita Rukavytsya for what might be his last Perth appearance.

Rukavytsya has been on trial in the Netherlands with Dutch Eredivisie club FC Twente for the last nine days but has not received any word about being signed for the rest of the 2008-09 season.

Mitchell said Rukavytsya may have some issues with travel weariness but he expected the 21-year-old to play up front, possibly alongside Dutchman Victor Sikora or in-form National Youth League striker Anthony Skorich, whose hat-trick at Newcastle last weekend led to a promotion to the senior squad.

Another youngster in midfielder Dean Evans has also been promoted to the squad but Mitchell has lost the services of club captain Jamie Coyne (glute) and Argentine forward Adrian Trinidad (ankle) while David Tarka's poor injury run has continued, the defender forced out with a hip complaint.

Perth can finish as high as sixth if Newcastle deny Sydney FC victory in Sunday's extended F3 derby clash.