One-cap Socceroo Jason Geria is in line to make his A-League return this Saturday as Perth Glory attempt to finally keep a clean sheet this season.
Geria, who won the A-League Championship-Premiership double with Melbourne Victory in 2014-15 before moving to Japan in 2018, flew into Perth last weekend and has been included in Glory’s extended squad for Saturday night’s match against the Newcastle Jets at HBF Park.
The 27-year-old right back will add vital experience to a leaky Glory defence that has conceded an average of 2.2 goals per game across their 11 matches this season.
Glory’s last clean sheet came in their elimination final win over Wellington last season.
Perth coach Richard Garcia says it’s important to be patient with the new-look defence, and added winning games remained the priority.
“Clean sheets are good and they’re the foundation of wins, so yes we want clean sheets,” Garcia said.
“But we want to win regardless of a clean sheet.”
Glory are in the midst of a five-match winless run that has seen them drop to 10th on the ladder.
But Garcia hopes Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Sydney FC will be a building block the team can launch themselves from.
Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy starred in that match, pulling off eight saves to help his side salvage a point.
Reddy has played just five matches this season after temporarily falling behind Tando Velaphi in the pecking order, but his performance against Sydney has cemented his spot in the starting line-up.
“I had an interrupted preseason in terms of I had an operation and had a torn quad,” Reddy said.
“The manager thought it was best to give me a rest to get some training in. I wasn’t happy with it, but that’s part of football.
“I just trained hard and made sure that when I did get my opportunity again I was going to be ready.”
The Jets will be boosted by the return of Jason Hoffman from a groin injury, but captain Nigel Boogaard (suspension) and Johnny Kourtroumbis (knee) are out.
Glory will be without Nick D’Agostino (illness).
Newcastle have slumped to 11th on the back of a four-match losing run, which included a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Adelaide last Sunday.
STATS THAT MATTER
*Glory are winless from their past five A-League games. The last time they logged a longer winless run was a six-match stretch from November 2016 through to January 2017.
*The Jets have lost their past four A-League games. The only time they recorded a longer losing run was a six-match span in 2017.
*Glory have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, more than any other team, and seven more than the Jets.
Stats provided by Opta