STAR Returns


Shane Smeltz declared fit to play Adelaide United on Sunday.

Perth Glory Coach Ian Ferguson has confirmed that star striker Shane Smeltz will be eased back into competitive action from the bench in Sunday-s match of the round away to Adelaide United.

The 31-year-old has featured just once in Perth Glory colours this season after picking up a hamstring tear while away on international duty with New Zealand, but Ferguson is confident that last season-s top scorer has recovered sufficiently to make an impact against the ladder-leading Reds.

“Smeltzy will probably sit on the bench,” he said.

“He-s had three days- training and hopefully he-ll get about 30 minutes of the game in Adelaide.”

Following Sunday-s cross-border raid, Smeltz will jet out to link up with the All Whites squad once again, this time ahead of their midweek friendly against China in Shanghai.

And Ferguson is hoping that Kiwi coach Ricki Herbert will exercise some caution in the way he employs the former Gold Coast man.

“I-m not happy that he-s going,” he admitted.

“We-ve just had him back for three sessions and now he-s going to be away which isn-t good.

“But those are the rules and we have to go with them.

“I won-t have a word with anybody in the New Zealand set-up.

“I just hope that they-ll be sensible and realise that he-s just come back for three days and then he-s travelled to Adelaide and then China.

“So I hope a bit of thought goes into the process of his recovery.

“But I think it-s a great honour to play for your national team and I would never stop any player doing that in a million years.”

Ferguson went on to all but confirm that he will name an unchanged starting eleven at Hindmarsh Stadium, including midfield duo Steven McGarry and Nick Ward, both of whom found the net in last weekend-s thrilling 3-2 victory over Newcastle.

“The two players that we tinkered about with in the midfield (McGarry and Ward) actually got us two goals which I was really pleased with,” he said.

“We lost our way for about 20 minutes of the game where Newcastle dominated but the second goal they scored gave us the kick up the backside we needed and the boys responded from there.
“I thought the boys showed great character and I-ve told them that this week.

“To come back in the way we did, I was really pleased with that.”

The Glory coach also rejected suggestions that his charges have any issues about performing away from home in the wake of two road defeats at Central Coast and Sydney FC.

“I don-t think it-s a mindset thing at all,” he said.

“We-ve just got to be a little bit smarter in the way we do things and take into account the situation of the game and the timing of the game.

“I think the two games we-ve played over east have been very, very tight.

“In the Mariners game, it was always going to be a mistake that decided it and unfortunately it was a mistake that we made, but there wasn-t much in that game.

“And then the Sydney game again, we were probably dominating the game for an hour and were one-up and created some good chances and then we had a man sent off
and I think that turned the tide a little bit.

“By the time we regrouped, we were 2-1 down after making a couple of errors.

“We-ve got to cut those errors out, keep to the gameplan and stick to our philosophy.

“We-ve been unlucky away from home, but we can-t feel sorry for ourselves, we-ve got to get the win and hopefully we-ll do that on Sunday.”