Daniel Sturridge has made just five appearances as a substitute since signing for Perth Glory and now the former Liverpool striker is facing a further frustrating spell on the sidelines after sustaining an injury – blamed on a rushed warm-up – which curtailed his latest attempt to make an impact on the A-League Men.
Sturridge, who in October last year was hailed by Glory owner Tony Sage as one of the biggest signings in A-League history, has struggled for time on the pitch due to the fitness issues that have plagued his career combined with three separate stints in quarantine since arriving in Australia.
The latest blow came during Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Macarthur in Launceston, where the 32-year-old, on as a second-half substitute, lasted just 18 minutes before pulling up clutching his groin after stretching to control a through pass.
“I keep trying to bring him back and he keeps breaking down,” Glory coach Richard Garcia said. “We’ve got to get to grips with it and find out where he’s at. He keeps getting to certain stages … we’ll have to wait and see how this one turns up. Hopefully it’s nothing.”
During his latest cameo, Sturridge had a golden chance to open his ALM account and draw his side back on level terms after Ulises Davila had put Macarthur ahead in the ninth minute, but with the goal at his mercy he pulled his shot wide of the mark. Shortly after, he limped off the pitch, with Garcia later suggesting a lack of a proper warm-up during the half-time break was to blame.
“We had him in at half-time, and then he did it so quickly that maybe he didn’t have enough time to warm up,” Garcia said. “He’s disappointed. We’ve got to take a look at it. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it felt. He’s a pretty strong guy. He’s had these injuries before. It’s just about him coming back from it.”
Defeat for Perth left them in 10th place, seven points off a place in the top six, although Garcia’s side do have games in hand on every team above them. They play table-topping Western United on Sunday in their last outing in Tasmania before heading back to Perth for a run of three home games at HBF Stadium.