Rudan galvanises Western United ahead of must-win match

Western United play their last home game of the season in Geelong on Sunday afternoon against Central Coast desperate for a win to kick-start the revival they need for a finals charge in the last third of their debut A-League season.

Mark Rudan’s team began their first campaign brightly and had looked nailed-on for a finals berth at their first attempt, but they have fallen away badly in the past three months and have slipped out of the top six.

Rudan will have to do without Greek international Panagiotis Kone, who has broken a bone in his wrist, while defender Aaron Calver is still going through rehabilitation for the broken bone in his foot.

Brendan Hamill, the experienced defender, has been out for the season while Seb Pasquali is another one who is out of action.

But Rudan is excited by the impact of new signing Steven Lustica, who made his debut in the loss in Wellington last week.

‘‘He came in and he was full of energy, we need that in the middle of the park. I thought he had a very strong and solid debut,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re a different team then we were at the start of the season. Five players who aren’t here who were starters.

‘‘We’re giving a lot of young players the chance to play, they’re getting a lot of game time, starting a lot of games and it’s good, good for them and good for our club as well.’’

He described the clash with Alen Stajcic’s Mariners as ‘‘must win’’.

‘‘They’re on the back of six losses [but] our form isn’t the best results wise. Our performances have to be a bit better; we haven’t scored for a number of games as well. Just in general we need to be better. This for us is a must win.’’

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