The West

Fit Smeltz ready for crack at new boys
Fit Smeltz ready for crack at new boys

Marquee striker Shane Smeltz has put up his hand for selection in tomorrow's clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium.

But coach Ian Ferguson is yet to decide whether to bring his first-choice front man back into the starting line-up.

Smeltz is confident he has recovered fully from the hamstring injury that has restricted him to one A-League start this season.

Billy Mehmet has led the way up front with three goals in Smeltz's absence and will start if the New Zealand international is left on the bench.

Smeltz returned from injury as a substitute in Glory's draw with Adelaide last week. He then made a 25-minute appearance off the bench for the All Whites in their midweek friendly draw with China in Shanghai.

The 31-year-old returned to Perth yesterday and completed a light recovery session but will have to prove his fitness at training today.

"I got 25 minutes off the bench against China, so that's two runs in three or four days, and I'm feeling good and looking forward to the next game," Smeltz said.

"I've been pulling up fine after games and not even thinking about it going out on to the field."

Central defender Michael Thwaite will also have to prove he has overcome the effects of midweek travel after playing 90 minutes for the Socceroos in their come-from-behind win over South Korea in Hwaesong.

Much of Glory's attacking play this season has revolved around overlapping full-backs and wide play, but Ferguson said he had some surprises in store for Western Sydney.

The A-League new boys have quickly stamped themselves as one of the best defensive units in the competition and Glory will have to be creative about how they break down their opponents.

"We've watched a few videos of their last few games and we've got a few little things up our sleeves that will hopefully cause them a few problems," Ferguson said.

"We've been working on some things this week through the middle and obviously wider areas.

"It's no secret our game plan so far has been with full-backs but we've been working on something else this week that hopefully can unlock the best defence in the A-League."

The Wanderers will be without midfielder Mateo Poljak, who is injured. But Japanese star Shinji Ono is beginning to hit his straps after a slow start to the season and looms as a major threat for Glory.·Glory women's team are without Matildas forwards Collette McCallum, Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna, who are on international duty, for their match against Sydney FC at nib Stadium today.



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