Melbourne Heart are desperate to snap their 18-game winless run when they take on Perth Glory in their A-League clash at nib Stadium.
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz has set his sights on becoming the first player to crack 100 goals in the A-League, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll achieve that mark while playing for Perth Glory.
Smeltz is the league’s all-time leading goalscorer with 73, but a raft of injuries has restricted him to just seven goals since the start of last season.
The 32-year-old has been sidelined for the past five games due to an ankle injury, but the star striker will make his return off the bench in Friday night’s clash with Melbourne Heart at nib Stadium.
Smeltz also missed the first three games of the season after undergoing hip surgery, but he’s confident his body will hold up to the rigours of professional football for a few more years.
“I’m certainly not thinking about stopping at this stage at all,” Smeltz said.
“I think I’ve got another few good years left in me, for sure. At the rate I’ve gone over my career, hopefully the 100-goal mark isn’t too far off.
“That’s something I’d love to achieve.
“There’s been plenty of great goalscorers in this league over the years.
“It would be fantastic to say you were one of the first people to ever reach 100 goals in the A-League.
“In the back of my mind, it’s certainly a target of mine. But my full focus now is to get out there and keep playing well.”
Smeltz comes out of contract at the end of this season, and the talented Kiwi is already attracting big interest from Glory’s A-League rivals.
Adelaide United are reportedly keen on luring Smeltz their way, while Brisbane might also make a play if striker Besart Berisha leaves the club.
Smeltz said he was yet to make a decision on his future.
“I’m certainly happy to look at things. But I made a decision that I wanted to get back playing football before I speak to anyone,” Smeltz said.
“I’m happy with where I’m playing and I really want to put in a good shift for Perth Glory in the second half of the season.”
Smeltz’s return to fitness is a massive boost for injury-hit Perth as they attempt to notch their second straight win.
Should the Heart fail to taste victory against the Glory, it would equal the record 19-game winless run set by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights in 2005-06.