Sturridge to feature in Glory’s ALM return

Ed Jackson |

He won’t start but Perth marquee Daniel Sturridge is expected to play a role when the Glory’s 42-day A-League Men exile ends against Brisbane on Wednesday.

The Glory face the Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium in their first match since a 1-0 loss to Melbourne City on December 8.

The last time Perth travelled to the Sunshine State, their season was thrown into chaos after Pacifique Niyongabire tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire team was placed into hotel quarantine.

The Queensland and WA governments reached an agreement that allowed the Glory to return home to complete isolation periods and spend Christmas with their families.

Since that time Perth have watched as the stop-start ALM campaign has stuttered through a limited number of fixtures due to COVID-enforced postponements.

Former Liverpool striker Sturridge has made just one cameo appearance off the bench for the Glory since his high-profile signing, in the 1-1 draw with Adelaide on November 20.

Glory coach Richie Garcia however says the ex-England international will be given valuable minutes against the struggling Roar, who haven’t won in five matches so far this season.

“Daniel’s travelling really well. He’ll definitely play some part in the game,” Garcia told reporters on Monday.

“Again, it’s sort of back to where we were when he first arrived. The plan hasn’t really changed from day one.

“He’s built really nicely over the last few weeks. The more match practice he gets the better he’ll be for it.”

With six weeks passing between matches, Garcia says he isn’t sure how much his players’ excitement at returning to the action can make up for their rustiness and lack of match practice against the Roar.

“The guy’s are dying to get back out there and do what they love to do,” he said.

“It’s been fantastic to have some time at home with family and regroup but I think everyone’s itching to get back out there and play.

“It’s still going to take time to adapt back to match practice but I think the group are going well and, once they’re out there and they’re playing again, they’ll find what they need to get the job done.”