EXCLUSIVE: Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz says he is “shattered” to miss out on the start of his clubs season but is chomping at the bit to get himself fit and back out on the park.
Smeltz had been carrying a labral tear in his right hip since the London Olympics mid-way through last year, with the decision made in pre-season to have surgery to repair the injury.
Despite being back in full-training Smeltz will miss his side’s round one clash against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium, with Round 4 earmarked as the likely return date.
“Firstly I’m just looking to get myself out there and feeling good and fit and healthy,” Smeltz told au.fourfourtwo.com.
“I know what I can do when I’m in that position so basically I just want to get out there and help the team and score goals and see how far we can go this season.”
But despite missing their star striker, Glory have a suitable enough replacement in the meantime with Australian U20 player Jamie MacLaren signed in the off-season.
Although when Smeltz makes his return, Glory coach Alistair Edwards is almost certain to have a selection headache on his hands.
“He’s a good player,” Smeltz said. “Although I think I read something that Ali said that maybe we wouldn’t play together but who knows.
“Usually when coaches say something like that you end up playing together so we’ll see how that goes.
“But he’s certainly a good player and a good asset to the club.”
Edwards gave his explanation.
“Shane Smeltz is a number nine and Jamie McLaren is a number nine,” Edwards told au.fourfourtwo.com. “Jamie can also play as a number ten, but then he’s got to compete against Danny de Silva and Ryan Edwards in that position.
“But everyone in the squad knows it’s gonna go down to who’s performing the best on the day and who we’re playing as well.
Smeltz also says his eyes are set on the main prize.
“Everyone comes out and says you’re aiming for top four or top six, but you’re crazy not to go out and say you want to win it,” he added.
“If you fall short then you still might come second or third and you’re still in a good position.
“Everyone starts off from scratch so why not aim to win it.”