INTERIM Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe will persist with young striker Jamie Maclaren despite his injury-hit team suffering goal-scoring woes.
Maclaren has scored two of those goals, but was unable to convert several golden chances in Perth's uninspiring 0-0 draw with Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Sunday.
Smeltz continues to battle an ankle injury and it remains unclear when he will return to the side, leaving Lowe with few other attacking options as Glory battles to stay in touch with the A-League's top six.
Maclaren is touted as one of the most promising strikers in the country and Lowe said the 20-year-old was doing everything asked of him.
"We've got probably the best striker that's been in the comp from the last four or five years out injured and (in his place) we've got a young boy who is an Under-20 international and looks a great prospect," Lowe said.
"Don't look at his negatives, look at his positives. He's going to be a good player eventually…in fact, he's a good player now.
"It's his first gig and it's his first time in the first team … he is (getting chances) and that's fantastic. I'd be worried if he wasn't getting chances.
"He loves being in the first team. He wants to be where he is and he'll get burnt by the fire –and if you don't get burnt, you don't learn."
Lowe said he was proud of his players for earning a point against Adelaide following a week where the club was in the spotlight after the shock sacking of former coach Alistair Edwards amid a bitter feud with senior players.
"We've been under the pump internally and externally for a week and it's probably not been a great place to be for all the players, but they've gone out and done that," Lowe said.
"They haven't got beat so what's the doom and gloom?
"They're professionals, they'll do what they need to do and they've been top-class all week and they were top-class today from an attitude and character perspective.
"We can be a little bit better with our decision-making and the way we do things, but I'm sure it will be onwards and upwards."
Glory winger Ryo Nagai is expected to spend a lengthy period on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring late in Sunday's match.
Nagai – who joins Smeltz, Williams Gallas (calf) and Scott Jamieson (achilles) on the club's growing injury list – had to be carried from the field and was seen leaving the ground on crutches.