Perth will unleash Diego Castro against Melbourne City as they attempt to finish their three-game A-League stint in Victoria on a high.
Castro missed the opening two games of the season with a leg injury then flew into Melbourne early this week – but also sat out Tuesday’s loss to Melbourne Victory.
Coach Richard Garcia said after taking a cautious approach to Castro’s fitness, he would call upon the 38-year-old skipper in some capacity on Sunday.
“Diego will be involved on Sunday. He’s here,” Garcia said.
When speaking about the choice not to use Castro against Victory, Garcia said it was about “weighing things up”.
“Do we want to rush him back and possibly injure him for longer or take that extra time and give him maybe a little bit more time to heal and make sure that he’s 100 per cent?” he said.
Garcia said that because of the “crazy” schedule this season, even fully fit players were finding it to be a tough slog.
“If guys that are fully fit and have had all of pre-season under their belt are struggling with that many games in such a short period of time, you don’t want to risk someone like Diego for that.”
Meanwhile the Glory will monitor Andy Keogh, who played 79 minutes against Victory but looked sore when he came off.
“Andy’s pretty sore – three games now on the bounce is tough,” Garcia said.
“So we’ll review how he’s going – he said he was a bit tight in his hamstring and quad.”
Perth have had a tough schedule on the road but Garcia expected his younger players to learn plenty from their experience in Victoria.
“We’re growing as a group,” he said.
“We’ve still got additions to the squad that will add a little bit more experience.
“But this is valuable experience for those young guys to be able to come away, albeit in a ridiculous situation where we’ve got four games in 12 days.
“For them it’s a really big learning curve – not only just in how they manage their bodies but in the competition that they’re getting as well.”