Garcia: Castro return won't be rushed as red-hot Glory strike force continue to fire

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says he's in no rush to end Diego Castro's ten-month absence from A-League action, as long as his abundance of attacking talent continue to produce against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

Castro hasn't featured in the A-League since March 14, 2020. The 38-year-old took part in Glory's AFC Asian Champions League campaign but a minor leg injury kept Castro out of his side's first two games of the 2020/21 A-League season.

The attacking midfielder is back in contention for Perth's clash with Victory but his long-awaited return to the fray comes in unusual circumstances, with Glory's attack flourishing in his absence - nine goals scored across Perth's opening two fixtures attest to that. 

The off-season return of spearhead Andy Keogh has helped fellow strikers Bruno Fornaroli and Nick D'Agostino shine, whilst young gun Carlo Armiento has twice emerged from the bench to claim three goals and an assist.

Together the quartet have 12 goals and assists combined notched in just two games: a 5-3 win over Adelaide United and a 5-4 loss to Western United.

MATCH PREVIEW: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
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Carlo Armiento
Carlo Armiento has exploded onto the scene in Glory colours this season

Garcia told the media on Monday afternoon that Castro will benefit from a patient approach to his return, and as long as his potent forward line continues to fire there is no need to rush the club legend back into his side.

"He's still on that borderline," Garcia said.

"We're still deciding on how people pulled up here, I think there's a few that are looking to go again and they're feeling good.

"If that gives us an opportunity to go that little bit longer without Diego, it's perfect for both sets of players (Diego and Perth's other attackers).

"If Diego is coming back from injury sometimes it's better to give him that extra bit of time to come back."

Diego Castro
Garcia won't be rushed into bringing Castro back into his starting XI

Garcia continued: "I'm going to have to freshen it up a little bit, but there's quite a few that have pulled up well.

"You want to try and use the whole squad, and that's one place where we've got healthy numbers."

Garcia takes his Glory squad to AAMI Park on Tuesday night to face Melbourne Victory, who are winless in two and desperate to earn their first points of the campaign.

While Perth have scored freely Victory have struggled to impact the scoresheet, with just one goal scored against Brisbane Roar in Matchweek 2.

That goal came off the boot of prized recruit Callum McManaman who is out of Grant Brebner's squad to face Perth through injury, along with fellow star signing Rudy Gestede.

The pair were prematurely withdrawn from Victory's 1-0 loss to Adelaide United on January 23, heaping the pressure on Elvis Kamsoba, Marco Rojas and Robbie Kruse to carry the goalscoring burden in the immediate future.

Goals and points have been hard to come by for Brebner's side to date, but against a Perth Glory outfit that has shipped eight goals  in just two games Victory have the opportunity to shake their scoring woes and gun for their first points of the 2020/21 campaign.

Rudy Gestede
Gestede succumbed to a hamstring injury in Victory's loss to the Reds

Ins and Outs - Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Adama TRAORE, 5.Ryan SHOTTON, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 8.Jacob BUTTERFIELD, 10.Robbie KRUSE, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Jay BARNETT, 15.Aaron ANDERSON, 16.Brandon LAUTON, 17.Elvis KAMSOBA, 19.Dylan RYAN, 20.Max CROCOMBE (gk), 22.Jacob BRIMMER, 23.Marco ROJAS, 25.Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO, 35.Zaydan BELLO

**0-2 to be omitted**

In: 16.Brandon LAUTON (promoted), 25.Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO (promoted), 35.Zaydan BELLO (promoted)

Out: 7.Callum McMANAMAN (injured – ankle), 9.Rudy GESTEDE (injured – hamstring)

Unavailable: 4.Nick ANSELL (injured - hamstring), 11.Ben FOLAMI (injured - knee), 32.So NISHIKAWA (injured - shoulder)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk),  5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Nick SULLIVAN, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19.Calllum TIMMINS, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 21.Bryce BAFFORD, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 34.Mason TATAFU, 37.Riley WARLAND, 88.Neil KILKENNY (C)

**1-3 to be omitted**

Ins: 17.Diego CASTRO (returns from injury)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Osama MALIK (shoulder 2-3 weeks), 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 4 weeks)