|By GARETH MORGAN
Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon is hoping history will repeat when his side takes on Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park on Saturday.
Ian Ferguson's men used their victory in last season's corresponding fixture as a springboard for a late-season charge - ultimately carrying them all the way to the grand final - and Risdon believes the ninth-placed Glory can embark on a similar run in the coming weeks, starting with their trip to Auckland.
"All the boys are pretty confident," Risdon said.
"We've got a few younger boys coming into the team now and that's made things pretty lively around the place.
"Now it's about getting back to winning ways.
"I think last year it was on this trip that we started our run of picking up points away from home, so hopefully we can do that again this weekend and get up towards the top six."
The 20-year-old right-back missed last Saturday's home defeat at the hands of Brisbane Roar due to suspension, after picking up the first red card of his career in their loss to Melbourne Victory in January.
But while many felt he was unfortunate to receive his marching orders for what looked like a perfectly legitimate challenge on Leigh Broxham, Risdon is happy to put the incident down to experience.
"It was a bit disappointing the way it happened, and I did think it was a bit soft, but there's nothing you can do about it," he said.
"You just have to learn from it and move on.
"I was just confused and shocked when I saw the card because I didn't even think it was a free-kick.
"But my disciplinary record has been pretty good overall, I've had three yellows this season and I didn’t get any at all last season.
"Fergie said he thought it was unlucky and it was good to have his support."
Risdon was just one of a host of first-team regulars unavailable for selection last weekend, paving the way for several young home-grown players to gain some invaluable experience.
And the man from Bunbury was delighted to see some of the players who had joined him coming up through the ranks seize the opportunity to make their mark at senior level.
"It's really good to have some of the younger guys around," he said.
"I've been playing with them for a while now and it's great to see them being given opportunities at first-team level.
"Jack [Clisby] played an awesome game on his debut against Brisbane and Storm [Roux], Ndumba [Makeche] and Brandon [O'Neill] did really well when they came on as well.
"Hopefully all the young lads can back up and do the same again in the coming weeks.
"It's also good to have some extra pairs of hands helping me out with setting up and taking down all the gear at training."
In terms of Saturday's vital clash, meanwhile, Risdon is expecting a stern test as both sides attempt to improve their wretched recent form and keep their finals hopes alive.
"Wellington have been a bit like us this season," he said.
"They started off well and have struggled a bit lately, but we can’t take them lightly.
"We're both down at the bottom of the table and it's going to be a tough game."