Gold Coast eye top spot

Gold Coast United dynamo Zenon Caravella has declared his side have not given up hope of dethroning league leaders Brisbane Roar just yet as they prepare to open the new year with a win against Perth Glory at Skilled Park on Monday.

Gold Coast United dynamo Zenon Caravella has declared his side have not given up hope of dethroning league leaders Brisbane Roar just yet as they prepare to open the new year with a win against Perth Glory at Skilled Park on Monday.

United's season-long goal has been to finish in the top two to not only secure the second chance but with the Roar's strong grip on top spot, to ensure the A-League final comes to south east Queensland for the first time ever.

Currently fourth, United are two points adrift of third-placed Central Coast but with three games in hand over both the Roar and second-placed Adelaide, the table is not as straightforward as it seems.

Things certainly won't be made easy for Miron Bleiberg's men with three of their last four matches against each of those top three teams, all in the space of 10 short days - but as the business end of the season kicks into gear, Caravella says absolutely anything can happen.

"If (Brisbane) drop a few games and we keep winning ours, you never know what can happen. We just need to concentrate on being consistent," he said.

"It's mathematically possible but it'd be a big ask - we'd have to hope that Brisbane drop a few games but stranger things have happened."

"All the teams are bunched so closely together and if you drop a game here or there you could even miss out on second spot. It's like what Ian Ferguson said; all the games are becoming cup finals.”

The first cab off the rank in 2011 for United is Ferguson-s Perth Glory, who will be riding a wave of confidence into Monday's fixture after beating Adelaide 4-2 in their last outing just before Christmas - a fixture which Caravella believes shows that the Glory-s stocks have risen dramatically since losing seven games on the trot through September and October.

"They've changed a lot during the season - they have a few good young players and a few dangerous older heads like Mile Sterjovski, Robbie Fowler and Adriano Pellegrino, and they play with a lot of spirit and heart and fight," he said.

"We've just got to match their intensity and hunger and if we can do that we'll be in a good position to win."

To make matters even tougher for Gold Coast, they will have to face Perth without captain Jason Culina (international duty) and defensive lynchpin Michael Thwaite (suspended) - but Caravella is confident the likes of Brazilian midfielder Robson, who capped off a good performance by scoring in Boxing Day's M1 derby, can make up for their absence.

"They're two important players that you don't want to lose for any game but we've got the players to fill the gaps so whoever comes in has to be ready and do a job for us," he said.

"For instance, Robson is doing well and he's our x-factor and he can dominate the midfield. He's an exciting player and if he's playing this week, which I'm sure he will, he'll continue his efforts from last week."