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Glory aiming to defy A-League history

NZN 7/04/2017 Justin Chadwick

Coach Kenny Lowe's FFA Cup heartbreak from 23 years ago is fuelling his belief that Perth Glory can defy history by winning this season's A-League title.

No team has ever won the A-League title from outside the top-two, and that trend is tipped to continue this season as ladder leaders Sydney FC eye off a record-breaking season.

The Sky Blues sit 17 points clear of second-placed Victory, leaving Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City, Western Sydney and Glory in a four-way battle to lock up the remaining two spots inside the top four.

Glory, who face Brisbane and Melbourne City in the final two rounds, could miss the finals altogether if seventh-placed Wellington snare maximum points from their final two games.

But two wins to Glory could also see them finish inside the top four and secure a coveted home final.

Winning the title from outside the top two has proven impossible to date, but Lowe knows first-hand about the upsets soccer can produce.

The year was 1994, and Lowe was part of a Birmingham City outfit expected to thrash non-league outfit Kidderminster Harriers in the third round of the FA Cup.

But Kidderminster tore up the script and overcame an early deficit to post a shock 2-1 win over the first-division club.

The win left Birmingham players and fans shattered.

And 23 years on, it's given Lowe hope that the likes of Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory can be beaten during this season's finals.

"Sydney have been beaten already this year. And it's a Cup competition really," Lowe said.

"It's a one-off game.

"Kidderminster were about five divisions below us when we lost to them.

"They were about four miles from where we lived, so we never went out the house for about 10 weeks.

"So things can happen. And everyone will believe that they can do it. That's the big thing - they believe they can win.

"Records are there to be broken."

If Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory reach the grand final, the team who finishes third will secure an Asian Champions League play-off berth.

The Roar will be in prime position to finish third if they can beat Glory on Saturday night, but they'll be missing a host of stars.

Thomas Broich, Avraam Papadopoulos and Thomas Kristensen have been rested as coach John Aloisi rotates his squad ahead of Wednesday's home ACL match against Kashima Antlers.

Glory will also have to dig deep into their reserves due to a spate of niggling injuries.

Captain Rostyn Griffiths (quad), Brandon Wilson (back), and Chris Harold (calf) are only expected to earn spots on the bench at best, while Nebojsa Marinkovic is out with a groin injury.

But the return of defender Rhys Williams from international duties is a big boost.

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