Star Perth Glory skipper Diego Castro appears set to miss Wednesday night’s A-League clash with Adelaide United due to a minor leg injury.
Castro pulled up sore from the club’s pre-season game earlier this month and is yet to resume full training duties.
The 38-year-old is the club’s most important player and rookie coach Richard Garcia doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks, especially in a season where Perth will face a major fixture squeeze due to their delayed start.
“He’s done a little bit of a muscle injury,” Garcia said days before Glory’s season opener at Perth’s HBF Park.
“It’s nothing too bad, but we want to make sure he’s good for the whole season.
“It’s very dependant on how he goes the next couple of days.
“He’s one of our elder statesmen, so we want to make sure we take every precaution possible.
“We’ve been putting him in and out of training to make sure his load is being monitored.”
Glory will enter their season opener missing a host of their front-line players.
Midfielder Brandon Wilson is carrying a leg niggle and faces a race against time to be fit to face Adelaide.
Defender Osama Malik (dislocated shoulder) remains sidelined, with the club to assess him further before deciding whether he needs surgery.
Star winger Chris Ikonomidis is making solid progress from his knee reconstruction but is yet to resume full training.
Former Japan international Kosuke Ota only started his two-week quarantine period on Saturday, while former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp is yet to arrive in Australia.
Glory are yet to play a game this A-League season, while The Reds have already notched a win and a draw from their two outings.
Perth’s delayed start to the season – and the two-week quarantine period they were forced to undergo after arriving back from the Asian Champions League – means Adelaide will boast an advantage in terms of match fitness and touch.
But Garcia said his players would be up for the challenge.
“Once they get out there, I’m sure the adrenaline will take them through it,” he said.
“I think they’re very well prepared for the task ahead.”
Glory expect their fixture against Western United in Geelong to go ahead on Saturday.
After that, Perth expect to play a few more games in Melbourne, before possibly flying to Adelaide and Queensland for more fixtures depending on border situations.