Preview: Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart

Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 14 of the 2013-14 A-League season at nib Stadium on Friday, January 10 at 9:45pm AEDT.

Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 14 of the 2013-14 A-League season at nib Stadium on Friday, January 10 at 9:45pm AEDT.

Head-to-head:

Played 10 – Win: Glory 4, Heart 3, Draw 3

Previous encounter:

Glory 1-0 Heart, October 27, 2013

Form: Past five matches:

Glory: WLDLW Heart: DLLLD

The Game:

Perth snapped their three-game losing streak with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday. Chris Harold's first-half strike proved the difference as the Glory moved to within two points of Newcastle and the top six. The match won't live long in the memory but it would have pleased Kenny Lowe, who fielded no less than nine players aged 23 years old or younger. Perth will be bolstered by the return of skipper Jacob Burns, who served a one-week suspension, while marquee defender William Gallas is expected to miss another week. Glory fans will also be pleased to hear talented defender Josh Risdon made a return to football via the National Youth League on Sunday after missing 11 weeks with a knee injury.

There were positive signs for Melbourne Heart under the guidance of coach John van 't Schip after they played out a goalless draw with defending champions the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday. In their first game since John Aloisi was given the flick, Heart appeared to play with a lot more freedom and they created a number of chances but lacked composure in the final third. Melbourne are still searching for their first win of the season but they will be boosted by the news that Orlando Engelaar and Jonatan Germano are progressing well from injury.

The big issue:

Glory – Perth can ill afford to lose another player to injury. The undermanned Glory are already without talisman Shane Smeltz, marquee Williams Gallas, Ryo Nagai, Jamie Maclaren and Josh Risdon, while Scott Jamieson is sidelined for the remainder of the season. The pressure is on the young brigade to keep the club within striking distance of the top six and another injury could prove costly.

Heart – Chairman Peter Sidwell boldly declared Heart were still aiming to reach the A-League finals despite a winless start to the season. The competition cellar-dwellers desperately need maximum points but they won't get that unless they start scoring. Heart have found the back of the net nine times in 13 games thus far. A major part of that problem is their misfiring attacking duo of Michael Mifsud (one) and skipper Harry Kewell (zero), who have scored a solitary goal between them. Creating chances is one thing but converting is another.

The game breaker:

David Williams – The 25-year-old attacker is Heart's leading scorer this season with four goals, one clear of Italian midfielder Andrea Migliorini. And that's despite the fact he hasn't scored since December last year, a run of four games. Williams is capable of pretty much anything, both good and bad, but four goals in 10 appearances against Perth – his best return against any A-League club, is sure to excite some supporters.