Shane Smeltz has been picked in Perth Glory’s initial 18-man squad to take on Sydney FC this Saturday at 2.30 p.m.it will be Smeltz’s first Hyundai A-League match for the season after having hip surgery in July.
Shane Smeltz has been picked in Perth Glory-s initial 18-man squad to take on Sydney FC this Saturday at 2.30 p.m. It will be Smeltz-s first Hyundai A-League match for the season after having hip surgery in July.
Smelt was forced to undergo the surgery to remedy an issue that had been hindering the star striker ever since the London Olympics in 2012.
"It got to a stage last season where I had to have a couple of cortisone injections and we never really put our finger on exactly what was causing the problem,” Smeltz said.
"I was just managing it and getting through, but worrying about your body week-to-week is obviously not good for your game.”
But all that is behind the two-time Golden Boot winner, declaring the surgery was a success and he has been working hard to regain full fitness.
“The rehab has been going really well. It-s been a long time but it-s progressed well and progressed on track, so I-m really pleased with it. I-m just looking forward to getting out there now really. I-ve put in the hard work to get back and the hard work has paid off,“ Smeltz confirmed.
It-s a timely return for Smeltz who is also eyeing off a return to the All Whites side as they prepare to play Mexico over two legs for a spot in Brazil 2014. Smeltz says he has been working hard in rehab in an attempt to get his body right in time for the All Whites- first away leg in Mexico City on the 13th November.
“The plan was to get back as quick as I could. In an ideal world, those qualifiers would be down the track a little bit further, but they are when they are, so I-m lucky enough I am just back - so that-s a good thing.”
The All Whites- away trip to Mexico means Smeltz will miss Glory-s home fixture against Adelaide United on the 16th November and the likely debut of fellow marquee William Gallas. While disappointed to be missing Gallas- first game, the A-League-s all-time leading goal scorer said signing the former Arsenal and Tottenham Captain was a great coup for the club.
“We-ve got a very young group here and I-ve said before, if you can add experience like that, someone who-s played at that level, and can obviously lead from the back as well - it-s fantastic”.
Smeltz has not kicked a ball, at either club or national level, since April 5th when Perth Glory was knocked out of the Hyundai A-League finals series following a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory.
In a dramatic turn of events, Smeltz had an opportunity to put Glory ahead in the 86th minute but had his penalty kick saved by Nathan Coe in the Victory goal. Melbourne was then awarded a penalty kick of their own, which Mark Milligan converted, before Archie Thompson popped up in the 95th minute to score the winner.
But that-s all a distant memory for Smeltz now as he concentrates on helping Perth and New Zealand reach their respective targets.
“It-s the last thing on my mind. I-ve been concentrating on just getting through the rehab and it is full steam ahead now,” Smeltz added.