Western United coach Mark Rudan has adopted a different policy to his A-League counterparts on using an expanded substitutes bench.
Western United coach Mark Rudan is happy for his veterans to play big minutes, rather than dig deep into his substitutes bench like so many of his A-League counterparts, as his surging club moves closer to a finals appearance in their first season.
With the remainder of the competition being compressed into a short period of time, coaches are now allowed to use up to five substitutes rather than three.
Some coaches have used a full complement or brought on three simultaneously with around half an hour to go.
Rudan used only three subs in Saturday's 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory in Sydney in their first competition game in four months.
One of those was made at halftime, when Socceroos defender Josh Risdon was replaced after copping a knock to the face, but the other two substitutes weren't introduced until the closing minutes
Much has been made of Rudan having one of the older A-League squads, but he's not contemplating making mass changes for their next game.
"There was a reason why we we kept most of the bodies on the field and they played 90 minutes," Rudan said.
"Because you can talk about looking at it one way and making a lot of changes after 60 minutes or 50 minutes, or at halftime.
"We look at the opposite, we believe that we are actually empowering them.
"Giving as many bodies that 90 minutes is going to bode us in good stead in the later part of this season."
United's third straight win lifted them to seventh, just one point behind sixth-placed Adelaide, who have played two more games and were held 1-1 by Wellington Phoenix in the early game of Saturday's double-header at Bankwest Stadium.
"We're not bothered if other teams go on a run and win three or four in a row," Rudan said.
"Because we know that if we do it ourselves we will be playing finals football in our first ever year."
In-form Max Burgess has scored five goals in his last three games.
"His decision making has really improved, he's now getting the goals as well that we knew that he could always score," Rudan said.
United completed a three-match season sweep of Victory, who have won just one out of their last ten.
New interim coach Grant Brebner fielded some young players in the game and hinted others would get opportunities in coming matches.
He confirmed a European club had approached Victory about signing goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.
"I think obviously in the next couple of days a lot more will play out,'" Brebner said.