Perth Glory are sweating on the fitness of star recruit Daniel Sturridge after he pulled up tight in Saturday’s gutsy 2-1 victory over Sydney FC.
The injury-prone former England and Liverpool striker clutched at his hamstring as Bruno Fornaroli scored Glory’s second goal on 85 minutes.
Sturridge finished the game and was happy to walk around posing for selfies and giving autographs after the final whistle.
Coach Richard Garcia said Sturridge had “felt tightness” but would have a clearer picture on Monday after a medical ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Macarthur.
Sturridge is pushing closer to his first start after 30 minutes from the bench.
With the side clinging to a one-goal lead thanks to captain Brandon O’Neill’s first goal for the club, Garcia made a daring double change sending on Sturridge and former Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh.
“We started to get on the back foot and I thought if I brought the strikers on it might actually get us back on the front foot so it was good we capitalised on that and we got another goal,” Garcia said.
“It was a good sign for the likes of Andy and Bruno and Daniel that they linked so well.”
Sturridge has now made three appearances from the bench, each one increasing his game time.
Garcia said his next game would likely be 45 minutes, then an hour before he plays a full game.
“We want to build (Sturridge) up on Wednesday again but whether that means a start or not is another thing,” he said.
“Very pleased with his input. Not only on the park but off the park as well.
“He’s been a good member of the squad and a great guy to have around.”
Garcia praised the side’s ability to put the the border backflip trauma behind them.
“It’s a crazy situation but the group has very much adapted,” he said. “Their togetherness is pulling them through.
“As much as we (coaches) can take it to the sideline they are in it.
“They managed the game very well…
“We’ve got a busy schedule. We’re still building, we’re still trying to find our feet.”
O’Neill was incredulous that he was awarded player of the match after giving away a late penalty.
He said the side had been spurred on by the border closure and not knowing when they can return.
Some players have family with them at their Sydney base and O’Neill expects to be joined by his wife and new daughter this week.
“We’ve had a lot of bad things happen to us but yet again we pull out all stops to get a victory,”O’Neill said.
“We’re turning it into one big family on the road. We make the best of it.”