With just seven A-League Men’s matches left before finals, Tomi Juric’s return couldn’t come at a better time for Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic.
The injury-plagued Socceroo has made just two substitute appearances this season and hasn’t been sighted since early December but is pushing to feature in Sunday’s clash with Perth at Campbelltown Stadium.
Having missed so much football, Milicic isn’t expecting Juric to hit the ground running upon his return but knows if the 30-year-old can stay fit and find form it’s a huge boost for the Bulls.
“When he does train, he looks frightening,” Milicic told AAP.
“He’s a player that I’ve worked with, that I rate extremely highly, and he’s very focused to finish the season in the correct manner.
“Of course he will give a lift to our side … just to have him in and around the group would be massive for everyone with his experience and what he brings to the whole football club.
“We’ve waited a long time for this so hopefully he can get some minutes tomorrow and then build from there.”
As well as Juric, the Bulls will welcome back English winger Craig Noone for the visit of the Glory while experienced defender Adrian Mariappa is a chance to play after returning during the week from World Cup qualifying duties with Jamaica.
“Adrian landed this morning,” Milicic said.
“You could appreciate he’s played all three games, 90 minutes, in the window which was good for him and Jamaica – not so good for us.
“He’s a resilient body so we’ll see how we feel tomorrow when he comes to the ground.”
Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Sydney FC means fifth-placed Macarthur are winless in their past three matches while last-placed Perth haven’t won in nine games.
Despite relinquishing a two-goal lead against the Sky Blues, Milicic believes his team showed encouraging signs in that match.
“I thought there was enough good football there for the boys to really instil some confidence back into the team,” he said.
“If we can just tighten up defensively and get back to where we were then it gives us a good platform to finish off the season.”