Glory get Brad Jones back for Sydney clash
Former Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones is finally ready to return between the sticks for Perth Glory, and he faces a tough first-up assignment against a Sydney FC outfit gunning for redemption.
Jones played the first two rounds before picking up a serious calf injury that has sidelined him since November.
The 39-year-old will make his return against the Sky Blues at HBF Park on Saturday night, with his availability coming at a perfect time given that fellow goalkeeper Liam Reddy sustained a hip flexor injury last week.
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Sydney’s title hopes are hanging by a thread following a three-match A-League Men losing run that has seen them slip to seventh on the table.
Sixth-placed Wellington are three points ahead of Sydney, and have also played three fewer games.
Glory coach Richard Garcia is preparing his team for a tough fight against a Sky Blues outfit that is on a five-match ALM winless run.
“They (Sydney) will be looking to bounce back after a series of results that have gone against them,” Garcia said.
“They’ve always got a dangerous squad of players, so we’re going to have to be at our best.
“It’s very much in our hands on what we do. We’re at home, we want to be on the front foot.”
Sydney did have some joy during the week when they secured a spot in the group stage of the AFC Champions League with a 5-0 win over Philippines side Kaya F.C.
Glory are languishing in 11th spot with just 12 points from 13 games after WA’s border restrictions forced them to relocate interstate for a prolonged period.
But with matches in hand on rival sides and a string of home games to come, Jones is confident the team can start producing results.
“Now it’s about getting the consistency that we missed so much in the first half of the season,” Jones said.
“Don’t underestimate the difficulty of moving from hotel to hotel, and trying to still be involved with our families.
“All that stuff is not normal, and it doesn’t help with the consistency of the team on the pitch.
“Now it’s about re-setting and becoming more familiar and confident with our surroundings again, because it was a long time away.”
Glory’s homecoming was dampened by a 2-1 loss to Adelaide last Sunday, but they have the chance to make amends at home to Sydney, Central Coast, and Brisbane over the next eight days.
Garcia said star recruit Daniel Sturridge was progressing well from a groin injury and was on track to ramp up his training loads later next week.