Preview: Perth Glory v Gold Coast United

Both teams will be desperate as they look to break extended runs without a win.

Date: Saturday, 3 December 2011 Kick-off: 7:00pm AWST, 10:00pm (AEDT), 9:00pm (AEST) Venue: nib Stadium

Head-to-head Played 6: Wins: Perth Glory 0, Gold Coast United 4, Draws: 2

Previous encounter Gold Coast United 2, Perth Glory 1, nib Stadium, February 2011

History: Dubbed the Iron-Ore Cup as owners Tony Sage (Glory) and Clive Palmer (GCU) are serious mining competitors, this was one of the league's best rivalries over the 2009-10 season when Gold Coast entered the fray.

The first contest lived up to its billing as United came from two goals back to snatch a 2-2 draw via a very late Shane Smeltz goal, while that man helped Gold Coast to a dramatic 2-1 win the next time these sides played, when refereeing decisions seemed to cost Glory.

However, since those first two matches, the last few encounters, particularly last season, have struggled to live up to this billing. In an interesting note, though, Gold Coast has never lost to Glory.

Form:

Past five matches: Perth Glory: LLLDL Gold Coast United: WLLLL

The formlines don't read too well for either side, despite both teams having impressed at times over the last five weeks.

Glory produced one of the performances of the season to come back from two goals down against Melbourne Victory but after losing several players to injury and suspension, were ripe for the picking by Brisbane Roar, who dismantled them 4-0 to break the Australian sport unbeaten record. Gold Coast United, meanwhile only had themselves to blame as their losing run stretched to four games.

Down 2-0 against Victory again last week, they were right back in the contest at 2-2 with 11 men on the park compared to Melbourne's 10. That they allowed Carlos Hernandez to score the winner, shows the belief is at a low ebb on the Glitter Strip at present.

Match Committee: Glory's defence has taken some serious blows, the most recent being Chris Coyne ruled out for three months with an Achilles tear. Scott Neville (knee) is also absent while Steve Pantelidis (heel) is not match fit and Evan Berger (hamstring) has a few weeks to go. Forward Travis Dodd (hamstring) is also still out but Glory regain Liam Miller from suspension and Mile Sterjovski (wife having baby) for this match.

Gold Coast regain talismanic young forward James Brown from Qantas Olyroos duties in a massive boost for the struggling club. Dylan McGowan may also return for this game but Joel Porter and Ante Rozic are still a few weeks away.

Danger men: Liam Miller - The Irish midfield maestro would have been a very frustrated man watching last week's 4-0 loss to Brisbane from his couch in Perth after picking up a one-match suspension for his red card the previous week. It was 50-50 whether he should have been dismissed by referee Chris Beath but he'll certainly have a point to prove and has the silky skills to do it.

James Brown - Gold Coast's best forward this season, he's been seriously missed by the club over the last few weeks.

At the end of the day… Both teams will be desperate as they look to break extended runs without a win. Although Gold Coast may be last on the table, their losses haven't been without valour as they went down to both Sydney and Victory in 3-2 affairs that could have gone either way. United are also the side who have taken the most shots at goal of any Hyundai A-League club this term - a few more then Brisbane although their conversion is nowhere near as good - so Perth's undermanned defence will have to be mighty wary of the attacking threat posed by this team. One of those defenders is former United man Bas van den Brink, who has probably been Glory's best player so far this season. But most of the attention in this match will be on another former United player, Shane Smeltz, who has only scored the one goal in the last five games. Smeltz always had a habit of scoring against Glory so Ian Ferguson will be hoping this goes both ways when he lines up in opposition colours this weekend.