Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has confirmed star striker Shane Smeltz will return for Sunday’s clash with Adelaide United.
But Ferguson dismissed speculation linking Harry Kewell with a move to nib Stadium.
A hamstring injury picked up playing for New Zealand has restricted Smeltz to just one A-League this season, while a chance meeting between Kewell and Glory owner Tony Sage at the Melbourne Cup, followed by the former Liverpool man’s appearance in Perth, had sent the local media into a tail-spin.
“Smeltzy will probably sit on the bench,” said Ferguson.
“He’s had three days’ training and hopefully he’ll get about 30 minutes of the game.
“As for Harry, he said at the airport that there’s no chance of him coming to Perth Glory.
“He made that quite clear and I don’t want to answer any more questions on it. He’s not going to be here, it’s as simple as that.
“Harry’s a quality player and I’m sure any A-League team would take him if they could fit him in, but we’re pretty happy with the squad we’ve got.”
Following Sunday’s trip to Hindmarsh Stadium, Smeltz will head to Shanghai where he will again link up with his All Whites team-mates ahead of their midweek friendly against China.
And Ferguson is hoping that the Kiwi management team will take a responsible approach in terms of the workload they place upon the man who was Glory’s leading goalscorer last season.
“I’m not happy that he’s going,” Ferguson admitted.
“We’ve just had him back for three sessions and now he’s going to be away which isn’t good.
“But those are the rules and we have to go with them. I won’t have a word with anybody in the New Zealand set-up.”
Smeltz was among Glory’s scorers as they won twice at Hindmarsh last season and although the men in purple are yet to pick up a single point on the road this term, Ferguson denied that his charges have a mental block when it comes to securing results away from their nib Stadium fortress.
“We’ve just got to be a little bit smarter in the way we do things and take into account the situation of the game and the timing of the game,” he said.
Ferguson is expected to name an unchanged starting eleven to face the Reds, with Steve Pantelidis joining Smeltz on the bench following his return from suspension, while Japanese import Ryo Nagai will continue his recovery from a hamstring injury by making another appearance for the youth team against Melbourne Heart.