Sydney FC marquee back for home run
SIEM de Jong is happy to be called many things, but injury-prone is not one of them.
Having sat out half the season, first with a hamstring issue and more recently a knee problem caused by a tackle, Sydney FC's marquee is finally back in the frame for Friday's trip to Brisbane.
His return, and that of fellow creative outlet Danny De Silva, could not have come at a better time, coinciding with the Sky Blues' A-League run home and second round of Asian Champions League group games.
And as frustrating as this latest two-month layoff has been, the former Dutch international was anxious to remind cynics it was entirely out of his control.
De Jong was clipped from behind by Andrew Durante as he scored Sydney's winning goal over Wellington in January, an unfortunate turn of events that brought an abrupt halt to a decent run of form underpinned by two goals in three games.
"There's been a few injuries in my career that basically had nothing to do with being injury-prone or not," de Jong said.
"Of course I had a few muscle injuries, but basically I've had something with my lung and a few knocks and tackles.
"It's always frustrating when you get injured. It doesn't really matter how you get injured of course, but this wasn't really my fault or me injury-prone - it was just me getting tackled at a bad angle with my knee, and I couldn't really do anything about it.
"I can't wait to be back on the pitch playing again. Hopefully I can give it a good run now until the end of the season when the really important games come up."
De Jong will likely start on the bench at Suncorp Stadium, where second-placed Sydney have won only two of their last 17 visits including 11 losses and four draws and need three points to stay ahead of Melbourne Victory with five rounds remaining.
Also back in the squad should be Josh Brillante, though question marks still hang over whether the midfielder will play after his near move to K-League side Pohang Steelers fell through, or coach Steve Corica will stick with the well-performing Paulo Retre.
"Of course he was frustrated when it happened, but now he's focused on winning with us," de Jong said.
"He was disappointed but he knows it's going to be a good last part of the season here.
"He did really well for us and everybody wants the best for him, but now he'll be with us and we're glad for that as well."