The Hyundai A league season is about to commence again in under a fortnight and Perth Glory, have for a very welcome change a home game against North Queensland Fury, who happen to be Robbie Fowler’s former team.
There is no doubt, and understandably so that the Perth Glory have looked to link the former Liverpool legend with all of their promotions pre-season, but sadly at the moment we have seen more of him off the pitch than on it.
Which raises a very interesting issue; one Eastern states journalist called to ask how Fowler was looking, when advised that he had a niggle and was being nursed through this by the management, his comment was ‘but surely he must play in the first game?’
This is the million dollar question, and one that could impact on the season ahead for Perth Glory.
If Dave Mitchell plays a less than 100% fit Robbie Fowler he risks him aggravating the current injury and being sidelined for even longer. He also risks the extra fans, who the club believe will flock to see Fowler, being disappointed by an under par performance, which in truth is to be expected by a man who has been restricted at training and has not had games under his belt in pre-season.
Mitchell also risks upsetting players who have been fighting for places on merit. Brank Jelic with a good pre-season under his belt is looking very good, his movement is there, and he has found the back of the net in two consecutive games. Michael Baird, who was getting in the right positions against Armadale, but was not able to beat Aleks Vrteski, scored twice against Adelaide and he will be feeling he deserves to start against the Fury.
Of course this is assuming that Mitchell goes for a 4-4-2 formation. Would he consider a different formation to accommodate Fowler, playing him in the hole possibly behind a front two?
But the biggest question of all is whether he will be forced to play him, whether he is fit or not? If he is that does not auger well for the season ahead, for team morale, or the coach’s long term position. Hopefully the coach has the final say, and as they say all good things are worth waiting for. If we have to wait a couple of weeks to see a 100% fit Robbie Fowler, then surely that has to be worth the wait?
There are more games this year and surely it is more important to have him playing and contributing at the important end of the season than in the opening games.