Perth Glory's A-League travel odyssey is ending, but they have been bolstered by some additional firepower, as they head home and battle to stay in contention for the finals.
Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Newcastle in Coffs Harbour was Glory's 10th away game out of 15 fixtures they have played this season.
It was their third straight game in NSW, and it came after a 12-hour journey from Western Australia to the NSW North Coast.
The result snapped a two-match losing streak but they remained in 10th spot, seven points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney, albeit with two games in hand.
Perth, who have earned eight points on their travels, now play six of their next seven at home.
They host Wellington next Sunday before travelling to Queensland to play Brisbane the following weekend.
Five days later, Glory commence a five-game home stand crammed into just over two weeks.
"We've got five games in 16 days, they are at home but that's still a tall order, to play every three days is pretty tough," Glory coach Richard Garcia said.
"The good thing is that we are at home in front of our fans, which I'm sure will give the boys a lift when they are feeling fatigued."
Perth have issues at both ends of the ground but Garcia believes there is cause for optimism.
After banging in 18 goals in their first six games, Perth have scored just seven In their last nine.
Diego Castro and Nick D'Agostino are injured, but Garcia has added depth to his strike force, with two proven performers making their first appearance this season off the bench on Tuesday.
Joel Chianese scored their goal in his first match since returning from Indian Soccer League club Hyderabad and Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis played his first game in over 14 months following a knee reconstruction.
"They will be great additions," Garcia said.
"They created a spark which was fantastic, that's what you want your subs to do.
"Very pleased that they got their minutes and very pleased for Chris after 14 months hard work, being out injured, that takes a lot of mental strength to come back.
"It will be about trying to get them more minutes slowly, slowly. There's plenty of games to get minutes in, so we're going probably have to try and find their fitness in games rather than in training."
Injuries have forced Garcia to make numerous changes to his defence this season and they haven't kept a clean sheet in 15 matches, conceding 29 goals, the second worst number in the competition.
"It's always hard when you play the majority of the front end of the season away from home and you do cop goals and confidence becomes an issue, but I think the guys have really turned a corner as far as their mentality," Garcia said.
Australian Associated Press