Glory sweat on opponent, Castro decision

·2-min read

Travel-weary Perth Glory are waiting to learn the identity of their opponent for the last game of a challenging campaign - and whether Diego Casto will play one more A-League season.

Saturday's 1-1 away draw with Newcastle meant Perth finished ninth and will need to have a playoff against another of the league's bottom four to qualify for the FFA Cup round of 32.

Coach Richard Garcia believes the playoff game would be held around June 14.

That would at least provide a week's respite for Perth, who in the space of the past seven nights have played their last three league games in Auckland, Queensland and NSW.

"It gives us time to get home and maybe have a little bit of a rest," Garcia said.

"I think this week has really taken it out of the guys, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

"We had a bunch of guys on Wednesday night who were really crushed in that dressing room after believing we could make the six and falling just slightly short.

"It's been a tough week so they need to refresh mentally."

Garcia agreed an unbalanced schedule which included four clumps of three or more successive away games and eight straight home matches hadn't helped the Glory's cause.

"That's probably an understatement (that it was) not helping us. It's been very, very challenging, even this last week," Garcia said.

"We've travelled 12,000 kilometres and had three games in a week, that's challenging on any squad in the world.

"I think the players deserve a huge pat on the back for that, because they've continuously been challenged with that ... but they've conducted themselves very well and always tried their best.

"We've unearthed some good players, the belief in the team mentality is growing.

"What we're trying to build is starting to come together, so that's a positive sign."

Meanwhile, the Glory are hoping to tempt Castro into staying at the club.

There has been speculation that the 38-year-old Spanish midfield maestro might have made his final A-League appearance on Saturday for Perth after six seasons.

"We're still In negotiations with Diego," Garcia said.

"We'd love to keep him at the club, he's a club legend.

"He's still more than capable of playing in the league. It's a matter of us sitting down now that the dust has settled and discussing it out."

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