Keisuke Honda has declared himself capable of contributing in some capacity ahead of Melbourne Victory’s top of the table clash with Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon, but will likely be doing so in and off the bench role.
Victory’s Japanese superstar last appeared for the defending A-League champions in their 4-2, Round 8 defeat of Brisbane Roar, in which he also found the back of the net for the fifth time.
The 32-year-old had tapped into a rich vein of form prior to his injury enforced absence, playing in every minute of the competitions opening eight rounds and netting three assists to go with his five goals.
“My leg is getting better,” Honda said ahead of Victory’s Victory in Business luncheon at Crown on Friday.
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“I think that I might have a chance to play second half.
“I can, it depends on the game situation, maybe if I have to play the situation is maybe bad because I think we have to score, we have to attack.”
“The most important thing is the team can play well.”
Honda earned plaudits for his work ethic and how he had been rapidly able to work his way into a leadership role with his new club, Honda appeared as though he, combined with the rapidly coming in to form Ola Toivonen, were set to run rough-shot over the league as a dangerous as a lethal, one-two punch.
These hopes were dashed, however, when what was initially believed to be a minor hamstring malady degenerated into a more serious condition that even surprised Victory’s medical staff with its rarity.
“The boys do a wonderful job in here, the staff and consultants,” Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat said of the injury in early January.
“But there hasn’t been (Honda’s injury) – the radiologist hadn’t seen one in his career.
“The leading physician that we spoke to, this is the second one in thirty years.”
Despite Honda missing more A-League fixtures through his injury than he has played for his new side, Victory has been able to continue their impressive run of form in midseason and sit in second position on the A-League table heading into Sunday evening, four points adrift of opponents Perth Glory.
Established, veteran figures Terry Antonis, James Troisi, Kosta Barabarouses, and Toivonen have admirably filled the Honda-sized hole in the Victory lineup since his injury, and his absence has allowed youngsters such as Rahmat Akbari, Anthony Lesiotis and, especially, Elvis Kamsoba to press their case for further minutes going forward in the future.
“Luckily, we got a lot of points even without me.” Honda said.
“Usually the team and Kevin (would) rush me if the team don’t get points.
“But, the good thing was we got a lot of points so I was taking care of me and myself and Kevin gave me enough time to recover.
“I was relaxed. I couldn’t do anything. I just thought that it was important with the beginning of the Asian champions League.
“It’s almost 100%, it’s close to that.”