Glory win clouded by Spiranovic uncertainty

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It was the long awaited return that ended in angst, when Matthew Spiranovic fell to the floor and asked to be taken off barely half an hour into his comeback game.

Ravaged by a serious hip injury which has kept him out of action since October 2017, the build up to the return of the Socceroo has been a long time coming.

So when Tony Popovic named Spiranovic in his starting 11 against Melbourne City on Saturday night, eagerness was rife around nib Stadium.

But that eagerness turned to agony when the centre-back suffered yet another injury.

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Popovic, however, says the early prognosis is positive.

“Hamstring, I believe it was hamstring,” Popovic said.

“I haven’t seen him yet, at the time I felt it was for precautionary reasons.

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“He felt a bit tight, and didn’t want to push any further.

“So hopefully when we review him tomorrow that will be the case.”

Spiranovic’s tumultuous injury ride has been made especially tough due to it beginning soon after he reached the peak of his powers.

In 2014 Spiranovic won the AFC Champions League title at the Western Sydney Wanderers and played in all three World Cup group stage matches for the Socceroos in Brazil.

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His following move to Chinese side Zhejiang Greentown coincided with a cruel string of injuries which have stunted his flourishing career, ultimately resulting in his release from Zhejiang earlier this year.

Back home with countless hours of rehab under his belt, Saturday night was to be the final step out of the medical room and back to the freedom of the football pitch.

But when the 30-year-old hit the deck after 30 minutes of game time, it was clear a twist of fate had resulted in a frustrating setback.

Popovic however is confident that the injury is not a recurrence of the hip injury which has plagued Spiranovic for over a year.

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“It wasn’t that (the hip), so we’ll know a lot more tomorrow,” Popovic said.

“It’s certainly not his previous injury.

“So whether it’s related, it could be he’s got to go through a process of getting fitter and stronger and that could be part of it, but we are hopeful that it’s nothing serious.”

If Popovic is correct, a hamstring injury would not pose as much of a threat to Spiranovic’s long term health as a recurrence of the injury to his hip would have caused.

It means he could be thinking of weeks out instead of months, with the prospect of re-joining his undefeated side in their push for their first A-League title in the front of his mind as substantial motivation to recover.

After suffering a personal setback on Saturday night, Popovic believes Spiranovic will gain solace in the overall success on the night for his new club and team mates, as they continue to ride a wave of excellent form.

“I think he’d probably be a bit down that he didn’t get through the game,” Popovic said.

“But I’m sure he’s delighted the team won.

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Matthew Comito
Matthew Comito
Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.

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