Perth Glory captain Brandon O’Neill says side is ready for A-League return after 43 days in the wilderness
Perth Glory captain Brandon O’Neill says it is a welcome relief to see light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-ravaged A-League season.
And he believes a long home run later in the campaign will benefit the side in the battle for the finals.
Glory play their first game in 43 days on Wednesday against Brisbane Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium and back it up on Saturday against Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
They are tenth on the ladder, five points out of the six, having played just four games for a win, a draw and two losses.
They are four matches behind some some sides and could play as many as six games with short turnarounds in the catch-up road trip before an extended run at HBF Park when WA border restrictions are lifted.
O’Neill only played in the opening 1-1 draw with Adelaide United, staying in Perth for the birth of his daughter when the squad travelled for three games in Victoria before they were quarantined for 14 days.
“It’s been a long time since Adelaide,” O’Neill said.
“I’m ready to get back to competitive mode and getting three points.
“You can see the boys are ready to get back into game mode after what they’ve been through.
“The ups and downs of not knowing if we are going to be training, if we are going to be playing, what the fixtures are looking like, what the end of the season is going to be looking like.
“There’s a much clearer picture now which is awesome.
“We can forget about the outside noise and concentrate on every single game being the best version of us.”
O’Neill admits getting back to match fitness may take a while.
“You can’t make up for game and competitive rhythm but I have no doubt we will get better as each game goes on,” he said.
“That bodes well for the end of the season, when we’ve got eight, 10, 12 games here in Perth.
“It’s where you want to be hitting the straps... at finals time.”
The season is still shrouded in doubt with teams struck down by COVID but O’Neill said: “We’ve done very well in an unprecedented time.
“Who knows, there may be more uncertainty, but we have included and planned for everyone going forward.
“Now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
“What we’ve done very well is prepare as best we can.
“We’ve controlled things inside that we can act upon and from there it’s the execution.
“We have done is pushed ourselves.
“We’ve been here there everywhere.
“To go away and get everyone together to concentrate on football will be a cool feeling.”
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