Perth Glory star striker Shane Smeltz has declared himself fully fit and raring to go ahead of Friday night’s Elimination Final against Melbourne Victory.

Perth Glory star striker Shane Smeltz has declared himself fully fit and raring to go ahead of Friday night’s Elimination Final against Melbourne Victory.

The Hyundai A-League’s record goal scorer did of course pick up a head injury while away on international duty with New Zealand and was subsequently ruled out of last week’s home clash with Adelaide United.

But the man with seven goals to his name this term is ready to return to the fray in the Sudden Death clash at Etihad Stadium.

“I’m right to go and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“The injury’s been fine and I haven’t really thought about it.

“This week we’ve had two or three sessions and I haven’t had to tape it up.

“It’s touch and go whether I’ll have to tape it up for the game, but it won’t bother me if I do have to do that.”

And the former Gold Coast frontman believes that he and his Perth Glory colleagues are well capable of upsetting the odds by downing a Victory side who were many pundits’ pre-season favourites to take out the Hyundai A-League title.

“We’ve played some good football in the last few weeks and we’re quietly confident,” he said.

“We’re looking at the situation as an opportunity to go over there and spoil their party in Melbourne.

“They are a good side and that’s why they’ve finished where they have.

“They’ve got some very good players and we won’t be underestimating them, but we are confident that we can go over there and get the job done.”

Coach Alistair Edwards, meanwhile, was understandably delighted to welcome Smeltz back into his squad, but would not be drawn on whether the 31-year-old will be named in the starting eleven to face the navy and whites.

“It’s nice to have a player of Shane’s capabilities ready and available for selection,” he said.

“He hasn’t played with us for two weeks and he took an horrific knock to the head. “We discussed it (whether he’ll start) a lot last night and we’ll have another discussion this afternoon.

“If you looked at (Dean) Heffernan’s performance last weekend, he was pretty much best on ground.

“It would be hard to leave Heff out after the way he played last week, his performance has really put the cat among the pigeons.

“Shane’s a big-game player, there’s no doubt about that, but in saying that, we now know that Heff is even more versatile than we ever thought he was before.

“We are going to put out a team that will cause Victory as many problems as we can and if that team includes Dean or Shane, we’ll have to wait until the team runs out on Friday.”

Edwards also confirmed that 16-year-old midfielder Daniel De Silva has made his first away appearance for the club, and will be used off the bench and went on to suggest that Glory’s dramatic late surge to the finals will help them deal with the pressures of sudden-death football.

“They are playing at home and they finished third so everyone is expecting them to win,” he said.

“But we’ve been in this situation for the last six or seven weeks with very little margin for error and the boys have performed extremely well.

“We are just focused on the present and we are looking to play our part in a game that is going to entertain 40,000-odd people and be a great advert for the A-League.”

Friday, 5 April, 2013