Star striker Shane Smeltz is no certainty to return for Perth Glory's crunch clash with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park this week as he battles a groin injury.
Glory were missing top scorer Smeltz's killer instinct in front of goal in a 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday, a defeat that left the WA club sitting last on the table.
Smeltz and captain Jacob Burns (back) have missed Glory's last two games through injury and would be handy inclusions against a Heart side reeling from a 2-1 derby defeat to Melbourne Victory.
Coach Ian Ferguson said Smeltz and Burns would be monitored closely this week, but he wasn't confident they would be available.
"Smeltzy's come through two rehab sessions that have been pretty hard and intense, so we'll just wait and see how he reacts over the next 24 hours," Ferguson said.
"If anyone, he could be the one that could be fit, but Burnsy we're not too sure about at this moment.
"It's one of those things. It's quite painful to have, but hopefully with the rest and the treatment that he's been getting he should be OK."
Glory remain in the finals hunt despite two wins in their last 14 games.
Sixth-placed Brisbane sit two points above Glory and Newcastle, in fifth spot, are still within reach.
But with eight games left to play, Glory need to turn around their form quickly.
"You don't want to rely on other results but this week again the results went for us," Ferguson said.
"It still leaves us in there with a massive chance with eight games to go. We'll always have that belief that we can get there. If we can win four or five of the remaining games, we'll definitely be in contention for the finals."
Glory failed to create many meaningful chances in an uninspiring display against Wellington, who climbed off the bottom of the ladder with the win.
Youngster Chris Harold wasted Glory's best chance of the game when he poked a first-half shot wide of the goal under pressure.
Jeremy Brockie was given too much space in the box and gave Wellington a much-needed win when he nodded home a cross from Paul Ifill before half-time.
Glory are still in negotiations with Argentinian attacker Matias Cordoba, who has been in Perth for more than a week but is experiencing delays with his visa application.
Cordoba, 28, is expected to sign a short-term deal with Glory, tying him to the club until the end of the season."If we can win four or five of the remaining games, we'll definitely be in contention ...""Glory coach *Ian Ferguson *
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