Glory coach fears further COVID-19 issues

Ed Jackson |

Perth Glory coach Richie Garcia fears avoiding another COVID-19 hiatus in his A-League Men squad may be impossible during the club’s travels across the eastern seaboard.

The Glory ended a 42-day wait between fixtures on Wednesday when they fell to a 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium.

Garcia’s team now head to NSW where they’ll face Sydney FC on Saturday before taking on Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium next Wednesday.

Away matches against Melbourne City and Central Coast follow before the Glory can finally return to Western Australia in mid-February for a run of home fixtures.

Garcia says the concern of COVID-19 striking down his team during their road-trip and forcing another period of inactivity is high.

“We’re going to try and keep the guys as safe as possible, that way we don’t have any more disruptions to the season,” Garcia said.

“That 42-day break has already been a big disruption.

“We don’t want to have any reason to be able to have another break but at the same time we’re going into a place where I think the numbers are very high and it’s going to be a challenging one to be able to go COVID free, I feel, within that environment.”

Glory’s disjointed and leggy performance against the previously winless Roar was not much of a surprise to Garcia given his team’s long break.

One positive was star import Daniel Sturridge gaining valuable match time, coming off the bench in the second-half to play almost half an hour.

The ex-Liverpool forward went close with a free-kick but otherwise struggled to influence the game.

Yet Garcia felt the 32-year-old will only benefit from his second appearance in Glory colours.

“I was pleased for Daniel that he came on,” he said.

“Bruno (Fornaroli) worked his socks off and it’s good to be able to give Daniel those minutes so he can build his way into it as well.”