Perth Glory are considering bringing along a mental health professional for their long road stints this season, and coach Richard Garcia says having players' families along is a must.
The issue of player welfare will be a big talking point during the A-League Men's season, especially for a club like Perth who are likely to spend significant stints on the road.
Australian Professional Leagues have released the schedule for the first six rounds of the ALM season, and it's not pretty for the Glory.
They will start their campaign with a home game against Adelaide United on November 20, before spending the next five matches on the road against Western United, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar, and Adelaide United.
Given the current border restrictions that exist in WA, it's likely Glory will have to spend extended stints on the road.
Garcia said his team are willing to bite the bullet given the circumstances, but he's urging the APL to make sure players' needs are met.
"The APL need to make sure that we have all the comforts that we need away from home and that we're in a position to have a normal life as possible," Garcia told AAP.
"And that includes having the option to possibly bring families across at some point in the trips.
"Players who are happy off the park are going to be happy on the park. That's a massive one for us, we want to make sure that players don't have to go through similar things they had to go through last year.
"We need the support, because mentally it can be challenging."
Garcia said having a mental health professional travel with the team was something the club was seriously considering.
"We're wanting to bring someone on board to help the guys with that," he said.
"We're definitely looking into options with things like that."
Glory are hopeful star recruit Daniel Sturridge, who is yet to arrive in Australia, will be able to play a role in the season opener.
Sturridge hasn't played a professional match for the past 19 months, but the former Liverpool and Chelsea star has trained during that period and says his fitness levels are good.
"That's something for us to take a look at when he gets here, to make sure that his body is right," Garcia said.
"There's no point rushing him back. We want to make sure we get him out on the park and keep him out on the park and get him to a place where he'll be successful for the whole season."
Australian Associated Press
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