Perth Glory's Bas van den Brink and Steven McGarry believe Friday's 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar can provide the launching pad for a surge to the finals.
Perth Glory's Bas van den Brink and Steven McGarry believe Friday's 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar can provide the launching pad for the kind of dramatic upsurge in form that carried the West Australian club all the way to last season's grand final.
Draws with Newcastle and Brisbane during last year's festive period steadied the Glory ship after a forgettable opening third of the campaign, with Ian Ferguson's side going on to claim an impressive 28 points from their remaining 13 regular season outings.
And a repeat performance is on the cards according to the defender and the midfielder, both of whom were among the Glory's stand-out performers at Suncorp Stadium last weekend.
"I think we are actually a bit better off around this period than we were last year because we had our turnaround against the Jets on New Year's Eve and then we played Roar at home and played really well and that is when we turned the season around," van den Brink said.
"So in regards to that, we're actually a little bit ahead of schedule, even though we've still got some catching up to do.
"Getting those three points at Brisbane last weekend was massive.
"Last year we struggled early on the road as well and we overcame that, so hopefully we can do the same again this season.
"It's a very important period of the season and we'll be wanting to take as many points out if it as we can.
"This is when we made our run last year and now we want to focus on doing that again.
"We are desperate to get to another grand final."
Having downed the Jets a fortnight ago, the Glory will look to maintain their resurgence on Thursday when they take on Western Sydney in forecast sweltering conditions at Patersons Stadium.
And the league new boys will be in a buoyant mood themselves, having hammered six past Adelaide last weekend and won 1-0 at nib Stadium in Round 7.
"They've probably done better than anyone was expecting them to do this year," McGarry said.
"They have a very solid base and teams have found it hard to score against them.
"They were struggling to score, but they managed to score six goals at the weekend so we'll definitely be wary of their threat.
"But we've got to take the positives out of the last time we played them.
"Even though we didn't score, we created plenty of chances and their 'keeper had a tremendous game, so we'll be confident going into this game."
Van den Brink believes the WA climate gives Glory a boost.
"I reckon we're more used to the heat than all the opposition that come here and that's definitely an advantage for us," he said.
"I thought they (Western Sydney) played really well (against Adelaide), but they've got their weak points and even though they won 6-1, I think we can beat them."
On a personal note, meanwhile, McGarry will be firing on all cylinders after capping another fine performance in his preferred attacking midfield position by rifling home a spectacular winner against Roar last time out.
"Travis (Dodd) gave me some stick last year saying I only scored the two-yarders but a goal is a goal and that one was pretty special and I'll never forget it," he said.
"Position-wise, I hope to stay where I am because I love playing there.
"It's pretty difficult for the manager because we've got a big squad with a lot of good guys sitting on the bench.
"Billy (Mehmet) is a fantastic player, but he must be pretty frustrated not to be involved and luckily it's me and Smeltzy (Shane Smeltz) just now."