Popovic - Returning Castro a great example
Perth Glory oach Tony Popovic says marquee Diego Castro's doing everything he can to be fit for the start of the A-League season.
The Spaniard is in doubt for the opening round against Popovic's former club Western Sydney on 21st October after injuring his hamstring in the 7-0 friendly victory over Rockingham City two weeks ago.
Popovic says the attacking midfield star will be able to provide feedback on how his return is going as he knows he won't put risk himself if he is not fit.
"We'll give him every chance of course but if he's not right, he's not right," said the coach, who comes up against a side he led to Asian Champions League success. "He's obviously professional enough to be able to talk to me and say 'I'm not quite there' - he's a winner and we'll give him a chance right up to the last day."
Castro had shown great intent during the pre-season to get himself ready, said Popovic.
"He's worked extremely hard; he came back in the middle of July as opposed to coming back in September and that shows a real intent," he added. "When you have your marquee player with a history that he has in football leading the way, it's a great example."
The 7-0 win over Rockingham in which Castro was injured was the fourth match during the build-up in which Popovic's team had netted seven goals.
But they tumbled out of the FFA Cup at the first hurdle when they lost 1-0 at home to Melbourne Victory.
Also in doubt for the opening game against Wanderers is defender Matthew Spiranovic, who has a hip issue.
Perth are 1.70 to win the 2019 Grand Final.
The Glory are 2.30 to win their first game of the league season against Western Sydney, who are 3.00 with the draw 3.60.
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