Perth Glory facing the unknown but star striker Daniel Sturridge says team focused solely on Sydney

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Nick TaylorThe West Australian
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: Daniel Sturridge	of the Glory warms up during the round 11 A-League match between Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory at Moreton Daily Stadium, on January 19, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Camera IconBRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: Daniel Sturridge of the Glory warms up during the round 11 A-League match between Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory at Moreton Daily Stadium, on January 19, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images) Credit: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Perth Glory star Daniel Sturridge says the side will put WA’s devastating border closure behind them to concentrate on Saturday’s crucial A-League clash with Sydney.

Glory are in limbo, not knowing when, or even if, they will be playing at home again under the new restrictions.

Sturridge spent just 10 days in Perth after arrival quarantine before the side hit the road. They then went into another two weeks isolation and had to kick-start their season.

The former England and Liverpool striker admitted the season had been “difficult”.

“We’re not really talking about the circumstances of what the future may hold,” he said.

“Once the game is out the way we can have discussions about how it feels.

“We are focused solely on Sydney.”

Sturridge’s partner Jamilla Ferreira and their one-year-old daughter Mila are in Sydney, while other players have family with them.

But some face a long time apart and Sturridge said the squad had built a support network around teammates.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 20: Daniel Sturridge of the Glory runs onto the field for the first game during the A-League match between Perth Glory and Adelaide United at HBF Park, on November 20, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconDaniel Sturridge runs onto the field for his first Glory game. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

“I don’t have a base in Perth so it doesn’t really affect me as much,” Sturridge said.

“For every player there is a support network.

“Of course everyone would like their families with them but partners and parents have jobs in Perth. Managing the family situation, the travelling, you don’t know where you’re going to be next.

“We have so many games, different locations, so many things which are against us at the moment.

“It’s a disadvantage, of course it is. We just have to get on with it and do our best.

“These are the cards we’ve been dealt. We can’t get around COVID regulations. COVID’s going to rule at the moment.”

Sturridge had 25 minutes off the bench in Wednesday’s loss to Brisbane Roar after his nine-minute cameo in round one.

He is expected to get more game time at Kogarah Oval as he gets back to full fitness.

“Everybody is in the same situation. We’re all building to the level we were at prior to quarantine,” Sturridge said.

“People don’t understand how difficult it is. It’s about the coach (Richard Garcia) making the best decisions for the squad, it’s not about individuals.

“I don’t think there’s many other teams going through what we are going through in terms of schedule.”

Garcia held talks with players on Friday surrounding the COVID uncertainty.

“There’s a lot of unanswerable questions at the moment,” Garcia said.

“We’re trying to find a pathway through it.

“It’s always hard when you’re living with the unknown.

“It’s about the power of focus. What we choose to focus on.

“The things that are going on in the background are not for the players to focus on even though it’s hard.”

WELCOME DARKO

Glory have signed central defender Darko Stanojevic for the remainder of the season. A dual Serbian and Australian citizen, Stanojevic, 24, has played in Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovinaand Uzbekistan, where he made 15 appearances for Sogdiana Jizzakh last season.

“I would like to thank the club for the trust they have shown in me, which I will try to justify,” he said. “I am happy to have come to a club as big as Perth Glory, the move represents a big step forward in my career and is great motivation for me to improve and progress. “I hope to help the club meet its goals and at a personal level, to adapt quickly to the A-League and play well for the team.” Garcia said Stanojevic was an excellent addition to the squad and could feature in Saturday’s game. “Darko is a versatile young defender who’s very ambitious and has great potential,” Garcia said.

“He’s comfortable on the ball, left-footed and keen to take the next step in his career.

“Once he finds his feet in the A-League, he will give us another great option within the squad.”

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