W-League: Key duo set for Glorious return

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Perth Glory is set to welcome back key duo Sam Kerr and Collette McCallum for Sunday’s Westfield W-League clash with Melbourne Victory at Lakeside Stadium.

Kerr has missed the past fortnight with a hamstring injury, but coach Jamie Harnwell said the speedy attacker only needed to get through the full training session on Wednesday night to regain her place in the squad.

McCallum, who had major knee surgery last January, is a confirmed starter against Victory after being rested from last weekend’s game, which was played on artificial turf at the Adelaide Shores Football Centre.

Both players were sorely missed as the league-leading Glory suffered a shock 1-0 loss to sixth-placed Adelaide United. It was the Perth side’s first loss of the season after six wins on the trot.

Kerr’s presence up front and McCallum’s leadership in the middle will be vital against a Victory side coming off consecutive losses, including a 2-1 away defeat to the Lady Reds on Wednesday night. Harnwell even flagged the possibility of further changes to his side as they look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season.

“Obviously you’ve got to look at why you’ve lost and the reasons for it and whether there’s people outside the team who are knocking on the door,” Harnwell said.

“The flipside to that is they’ve done everything asked of them for six weeks prior to last week so you’ve got to take that into account and question whether one bad performance should count against them.

“There might be one or two other changes so we’ll just have to weigh up which way we’re going to go.”

Harnwell put the loss down to a combination of factors, such as travel fatigue and a hint of complacency after impressive wins over fellow title contenders Sydney FC and Canberra United in the preceding fortnight.

“We didn’t really turn up on the day, but in saying that we’ve been fantastic for six weeks and you’re always going to have a blip here and there and I’m pretty sure that’s all it was,” Harnwell said.

“We went through the video and just pinpointed a couple of errors that we needed to work on, but at the end of that I basically put a line through the game and said, ‘OK, last week’s done’.

“We’re not going to mention it again and we look forward to a big game this week.”

Victory will be fighting to keep their title defence alive when they confront Glory for the first time this season.

The reigning W-League champions sit one point outside the top four, but have played one extra game than the teams above them on the table.

A four-day turnaround will also test Victory’s stamina, but Harnwell still expects the home side to come out firing.

“It’s not ideal for them to have to back up, but with a Sunday game they’ve probably got enough time to recover,” Harnwell said.

“There wouldn’t be too many players in the league who would be used to playing three games in a week so it may be a factor come the 80th minute if it’s tight, but I can’t see it being a huge influence from the start of the match.”

Victory will be without star striker and former Glory player Lisa De Vanna, who is serving a club-imposed two-game suspension for a breach of Football Federation Australia’s code of conduct last weekend.

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