Ikonomidis closing in on return and eyeing more silverware


Six weeks in a sling is not exactly anyone’s idea of a relaxing off-season break, but Chris Ikonomidis is still feeling refreshed, revitalised and raring to go.

The 24-year-old was forced to undergo shoulder surgery at the end of last season after dislocating the joint against the Mariners in Round 24 and although not yet back in full training, he’s not far away.

“It’s been eight weeks since the operation and I’m now running on the pitch, doing stuff on the ball and working on my strength,” he said.

“The only thing I’m not doing is full contact, but that should come after the 12-week mark.

“So it’ll be a few more weeks of building up my fitness and core strength and then I should be ready to go.

“I’m actually ahead of schedule in terms of my recovery; I’m progressing really well.

“We said at the time of the operation that the target was Round One of the Hyundai A-League season and anything ahead of that would be a bonus, so we’ll just work back from that.”

The livewire forward did, of course, enjoy a memorable maiden season for Glory last year, scoring nine goals in 20 appearances as the men in purple swept to the Premiership title.

And he is targeting more silverware in the campaign ahead.

“I’m very excited about next season,” he said.

“I think as a group, our target is just to better last season and obviously that means going all the way and winning the Premiers’ Plate and the Grand Final, plus having a successful Asian Champions League campaign.

“We’ve brought in some really quality players and I’m looking forward to playing with them.

“I’ve never played in the Asian Champions League before, so it’ll be a new experience for me.

“But a lot of the staff here have been involved before, so they’ll know exactly how to handle it and what it takes for us players to be able to compete with the best teams in Asia.”

In addition to his fine form for Glory, the man from Cronulla also shone for the Socceroos at last year’s Asian Cup and he’s keen to build upon those performances as Graham Arnold’s side attempt to plot their qualification course for the 2022 World Cup.

“I’ve been in regular contact with Graham and also the [Socceroos] medical staff and they’ve all been very supportive of my operation,” he said.

“I thought the World Cup qualifying draw was a good one for us and I’m very confident that we can do the business and qualify for Qatar.”