Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia has confirmed that Chris Ikonomidis could make his long-awaited return to A-League action in Tuesday's clash with Newcastle Jets at Coffs Harbour International Stadium (kick-off at 5.05pm WST).
The 25-year-old has been sidelined after sustaining knee ligament damage against Melbourne Victory in February 2020, but is now ready to resume his Glory career which has seen him score 12 goals in 32 appearances to date.
"Chris is in the squad to travel and hopefully we can give him some minutes," said Garcia.
"We're going to have to try and find his fitness within games because there's no real possibility of finding it in training.
"With the games coming thick and fast, we'll just have to work him in slowly, slowly."
Glory will be looking to complete the double over the Jets having downed them at HBF Park a little over a fortnight ago and Garcia is under no illusions as to the importance of the game.
"They're all must-wins," he said.
"We've got to be focused on making sure we take every game on its merits and don't think too far ahead or about things that have gone on in the past.
"We've got to learn from that and then move on and make sure we put our best foot forward in every game.
"We're going to have to make sure that the younger guys stand up to the challenge and that the older guys guide them through it.
"They've also got to stand up to the challenge as well, so it's very much how the season has gone all year for us.
"We knew when we first got the squad together that it was going to be a mixture of older guys and younger guys with less experience, but those guys have come into their first year of senior football and done extremely well.
"I feel that they are the guys who have really progressed in their football and they'll be all the better for it next season as well."
Newcastle will head into the game seeking to snap a run of seven straight defeats, but Garcia was reluctant to dwell on the hosts' poor form.
"We know what they have to offer," he said.
"We've been constantly watching them and seeing how they're going and we just have to focus on what we can do against them and how we can affect them.
"We'll definitely push forward and look to get a result away from home."
In terms of early team news, Diego Castro (knee), Nick D'Agostino (hamstring), Daniel Stynes (groin) and Sebastian Langkamp (groin) will miss out for the visitors, but the returning Joel Chianese has been added to the squad.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are poised to be without several key defenders, including Nigel Boogaard and Johnny Koutroumbis.
Tuesday will mark Glory's first ever A-League visit to Coffs Harbour International Stadium and they will be looking to maintain an impressive away record against the Jets which has seen them win 12 of the previous 23 meetings.
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Kick-Off: 5:05pm (WST)(7:05pm (Local))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5:00pm (WST), Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 8.Liridon KRASNIQI, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Ramy NAJJARINE, 14.Ali ABBAS, 16.Matt MILLAR, 17.Valentino YUEL, 20.Syahrian ABIMANYU, 21.Luka PRŠO, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 26.Archie GOODWIN, 28.Blake ARCHBOLD, 32.Angus THURGATE, 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 51.Jordan LENNON.
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 26.Archie GOODWIN (promoted), 28.Blake ARCHBOLD (promoted)
Unavailable: 5.Ben KANTAROVKSI (calf - 1 week), 2.Johnny KOURTROUMBIS (MCL – 3-4 weeks), 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (Leg – 3-4 weeks), 15.Tete YENGI (Foot – 4-6 weeks)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 11.Joel CHIANESE, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 37.Riley WARLAND, 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88.Neil KILKENNY
*2-4 to be omitted*
Ins: 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted), 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (returns from injury), 37.Riley WARLAND (promoted)
Outs: 4.Sebastian LANGKAMP (groin 1-3 weeks),
Unavailable: 17.Diego CASTRO (knee – 2-4 weeks), 18.Nick D'AGOSTINO (hamstring - 1 week), 24.Daniel STYNES (groin – 3 weeks)