Castro 'getting closer' to A-League start, says Popovic

Perth Glory playmaker Diego Castro Source: Getty Images

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic will resist the urge to hand Diego Castro a starting role in Saturday night's A-League clash with Melbourne City.

And defender Matthew Spiranovic may be forced to wait at least another week before making his long-awaited A-League return.

Castro has made two substitute appearances since recovering from a serious hamstring injury.

The 36-year-old came on in the 74th minute in a 3-2 win against the Central Coast Mariners last month.

And he scored the equaliser in last week's 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix after being introduced in the 65th minute.

Castro's spark was crucial against the Phoenix, but Popovic is likely to err on the side of caution with the skipper against Melbourne City.

"He's getting closer," Popovic said.

"We feel that he's getting stronger with each training session.

"He's shown that in the games as well - the two matches - that he's looking better and better.

"He'll certainly play a part this week, and we'll see how many minutes that is."

Spiranovic hasn't played at senior level for about a year because of a long-standing hip injury.

But the 30-year-old has made it through two youth matches for Glory, and is an outside chance to be named on the bench against City.

"He's played 45 minutes and 60-odd minutes in the youth team," Popovic said.

"He's still a long way off from being fully match fit in the A-League.

"But with his quality, you have to consider it every week, and we have been for the last month or so."

Glory sit on top of the ladder after snaring four wins and two draws from the first six rounds.

City are four points further back in fifth spot, but will enter Saturday's match at nib Stadium full of confidence after last week's 3-0 demolition of Newcastle Jets.

However, the drama surrounding Bruno Fornaroli continues to dog City, with coach Warren Joyce snubbing the star Uruguayan for a third straight match.

Joyce says Fornaroli's lack of commitment in training is the reason behind the decision, but a large chunk of City's fans aren't happy with the move.

Stats that matter:
*Melbourne City have won just one of their past 10 games at nib Stadium (D1, L8). Their last triumph in Perth came in round 15 last year, when they won 2-0.
*Melbourne City (82 per cent) are the only team to enjoy a passing accuracy greater than 80 per cent this season.
*Glory attacker Chris Ikonomidis has been directly involved in six goals this season (4 goals, 2 assists). Only Victory's Keisuke Honda (4 goals, 3 assists) has been directly involved in more.

Source AAP