Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia has confirmed that Diego Castro will feature in Sunday's eagerly-anticipated clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park (kick-off at 3.40pm WST).
A hamstring injury kept the club skipper out of action in the opening three games of the campaign, but he is now ready to face a side against whom he has found the net seven times in 16 appearances.
"We're pretty confident he'll play a vital role in the game," said Garcia.
"He's still getting up to speed, but he'll be in and amongst it and like all the senior players, he's a vital part of the squad.
"It's been good to have him around the players and have that extra experienced player in the group.
"I can't see him playing 90 minutes; it's probably a bit early for that and we want to build him up and do the right thing by him to make sure he's in a good state for more than just one game."
Garcia went on to admit that in addition to restoring Castro to his squad, he may well make further changes in a bid to combat the physical toll of playing four games in the space of 12 days.
"We've got players that are now a little bit fresher from not playing the other day, so we'll look to see how many we do rotate," he said.
"We've had to be a bit careful with how we go about playing certain players.
"It's important that we keep these guys for the majority of the season and don't put too much pressure on them to back up and back up and back up.
"It's hard enough for experienced pros to do that, let alone guys who haven't been at this level at all.
"We're trying to manage that as best we can and make sure that we're as sharp and fresh as possible.
"Andy [Keogh] is probably struggling a little bit and Nick [D'Agostino] has pulled up a little bit sore, so we'll see how they pull up tomorrow and make a decision then."
While Glory will be looking to bounce back from consecutive narrow defeats at the hands of Western United and Melbourne Victory, City will be targeting a third win of the season having edged out Brisbane Roar and Western United either side of losing to Adelaide.
And Garcia is well aware of the threat Patrick Kisnorbo's side will provide.
"They have a lot of depth in their squad which always helps," he said.
"They have Jamie Maclaren who is a fantastic striker who always scores goals, so he'll be one to think about.
"They've started the season in the best possible fashion with great preparation and being at home for the majority of it, so it's going to be a tough game.
"But our guys are disappointed with the results in the last two games, feeling like we should have got more out of them and they're looking to put that right.
"So I'm looking forward to seeing the boys respond."
Sunday 31 January 2021
Melbourne City FC v Perth Glory
AAMI Park Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 3:40pm (WST)(6:40pm (Local))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Meimarakis
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3:10pm (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 #MCYvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 3.Scott JAMIESON (c), 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 14.Naoki TSUBAKI, 16.Taras GOMULKA, 17.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 18.Connor METCALFE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Adrian LUNA, 22.Curtis GOOD, 23.Marco TILIO, 33.Matthew SUTTON (gk), 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36.Kerrin STOKES, 48.Luke ORESTI.
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Scott JAMIESON (returns from suspension), 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON (returns from injury).
Unavailable: 15.Andrew NABBOUT (hamstring).
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Nick SULLIVAN, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19.Calllum TIMMINS, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 21.Bryce BAFFORD, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 34.Mason TATAFU, 37.Riley WARLAND, 88.Neil KILKENNY (C)
**1-3 to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Diego CASTRO (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 6.Osama MALIK (shoulder 2-3 weeks), 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 4 weeks)