A meeting with a specialist next week will determine if key Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Socceroo defender Matthew Spiranovic is on track to return in time for the start of the Hyundai A-League season.
Spiranovic is six weeks into his rehabilitation after going under the knife in July for an ankle problem.
The 26-year-old, one of the Socceroos' best at the recent FIFA World Cup, has just returned from a 10-day training camp in Dubai with rest of the Wanderers squad as the gear up for next week’s ACL semi-final first leg against FC Seoul.
While Spiranovic is not in contention for the club’s huge ACL semi-final next week, the round one Hyundai A-League battle with Melbourne Victory is very much in his sights.
“That would be the perfect scenario and if everything goes to plan then hopefully I’m available come that first game,” Spiranovic said on arrival at Sydney Airport on Wednesday.
“It’s really hard to say. It’s a day-by-day thing right now and I have to assess it as I go.
“I’ve taken some big steps, especially in the last few weeks and hopefully at some stage soon I’ll be back with the team and training but at the moment I’m still doing my own individual rehab.”
Spiranovic’s initial prognosis was at least a 10-week stint on the sidelines, meaning he would be at long odds to be right to start the new season.
“He has an appointment with a specialist in the next seven days or so which will really tell us where he is at,” Wanderers boss Tony Popovic said.
“It was great for him to be away with the team. When you’ve got a long term injury you’re training on your own all the time so it was good to have him with the boys.
“He did his fair share of training. He’s on an intense program but he’s happy and he knows that it’s getting better and now we’re just waiting to get the all-clear from the surgeon."
Asked if he was confident of having his star centre-back available for the season-opener against Victory, Popovic said: “I’m not looking that far ahead.
“When the surgeon and Matty tell me he’s good to go then he’ll have to really do some training with the team first and then we’ll see where he’s at.
“He’s getting the chance to be out on the field and do little warm-up drills with the players which is a start but he’s still a fair bit off to be able to play a competitive game.”
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