Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has confirmed that Shane Smeltz could be out for three weeks after injuring his hamstring on international duty with New Zealand.
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has confirmed that star striker Shane Smeltz could be sidelined for up to three weeks after picking up a hamstring tear while away on international duty with New Zealand.
And the West Australian club will be without another key man for Sunday's clash with Melbourne Heart after Dutch defender Bas van den Brink was ruled due to a calf strain.
"Shane will definitely miss the game," said Ferguson.
"He's got a little tear in his hamstring that's probably going to take two or three weeks to repair.
"We're very disappointed that we won't have him available to play because Smeltzy always has goals in him and you're always going to miss that top quality player who can change a game in a heartbeat.
"But we've got plenty of cover there in Billy Mehmet and Travis Dodd and Steven McGarry can play up there as well."
Ferguson went on to reveal that Steve Pantelidis will be handed his first start of the season in place of van den Brink.
"Bas unfortunately picked up a calf injury last week and he hasn't recovered, so we won't take any chances with it," Ferguson said.
"If it was a cup final, we could probably throw him in there, but we won't do that this week.
"We've got a squad and we'll use it to make sure that everybody gets some game time.
"Pantelidis will come straight in. He's the next choice centre-half and he'll do a good job."
Pantelidis himself, meanwhile, responded philosophically when asked if his exclusion from the run-on side for the opening two games of the campaign had left him disappointed.
"Me, Bas (van den Brink) and (Michael) Thwaite are similar," he said.
"So it was a tough decision and one of us had to miss out and it was me and that's okay.
"But Bas has now pulled up with an injury, so I'll get a chance this week and hopefully I can put in a good performance.
"I did the whole pre-season so I'm feeling really fit and looking forward to a big game against the Heart."
Not that the 29-year-old Melburnian is expecting an easy ride against the red and whites who remain unbeaten this term following their derby win over Victory and last week's home draw with Wellington.
"(Heart coach) John (Aloisi) has got them very well organised, so they are going to be tough to break down and they've got quick players out wide, plus big Macca (Dylan Macallister) up front who holds the ball up well, so it's going to be a tough contest," Pantelidis said.
"But with the home crowd advantage, hopefully we can get the three points."
Pantelidis is set to be joined in the starting XI by Dean Heffernan and Travis Dodd, both of whom shrugged off respective thigh and calf niggles to take a full part in Friday's extended training session.