Burns set for Glory return
Perth skipper Jacob Burns is set to return to competitive action in Friday night's clash against the Newcastle Jets.
The 34-year-old has missed the last six games due to a niggling back injury but trained strongly on Tuesday and declared himself ready to play his part in what is looming as a must-win game for the men in purple at Hunter Stadium.
"I'm really happy to be back," he said.
"It's been a long time out for me and I felt good out there today.
"No-one likes to mis any football and I've missed a good few weeks with the back injury, so it's great to be back out there and moving freely again.
"Three jabs later it's finally come good and now I'm looking forward to getting some more training under my belt and seeing how things progress.
"I think reaching the finals is a very real possibility, especially after last weekend's results which, bar Brisbane winning, really went our way.
"It's an extremely important game against Newcastle and we're not going over there expecting it to be easy.
"If we can get a result on Friday, we've got two more home games against Wellington and Adelaide, as well as Victory away which will be a tough one.
"But if we can get three points from this one, we'll be a real chance."
Burns' injury lay-off has forced him to watch from the sidelines as the new, Alistair Edwards-led coaching regime has taken control at nib Stadium and the combative midfielder has been impressed by what he's seen thus far.
"I've enjoyed it a lot," he said.
"I haven't been able to spend as much time on the pitch as I would have liked, but looking on, I've seen that their philosophy of the game, their structure and knowledge of the game is second to none.
"And I've really been inspired by what the boys have been able to take from the training paddock onto the field.
"With the movement off the ball and the rotations, I think we really gave Sydney a headache last game and it was a joy to watch.
"From day one the boys were very open to the way the club is moving and I think things have gone really well.
"I think we've got a talented group and they have adapted well to the new philosophy."
Coach Edwards will have a virtually full-strength squad at his disposal for Friday's must-win game, with Travis Dodd, Dean Heffernan and Nick Ward all joining Burns in the selection mix having missed last weekend's vital victory over Sydney.
And the returning skipper is aware that he may have to battle to reclaim his starting berth.
"The manager has a good headache this week," he said.
"The more fit players he has to pick from, the better the club is, so I'm well aware that I've got to be patient and it's their call.
"But if I get the nod, I'll be grabbing it with both hands, that's for sure."
Steve Pantelidis was the only notable absentee from the training paddock on Tuesday, but the club's medical staff are optimistic that the versatile defender will recover from a jarred Achilles in time to feature against the Jets.