Football 1 year ago

Glory sign Serbian star in A-League deal

  • Glory sign Serbian star in A-League deal

    Belgrade, SERBIA: Auxerre's Bacary Sagna (C) vies for the ball with Partizan Belgrade's Milan Smiljanic (L) and Nebojsa Marinkovic (R) during their UEFA Cup Group A football match in Belgrade, 29 November 2006. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Perth have filled their last visa spot with the signing of Serbian international midfielder Milan 'Lola' Smiljanic for the upcoming A-League season.

The 29-year old, who was born in Sweden, comes to the Glory following stints with Belgrade powerhouse FK Partizan, La Liga side Espanyol and, more recently, Israeli outfit Maccabi Netnaya.

Smiljanic is the second Serbian player set to wear the Glory jersey this season, joining compatriot Nebo Marinkovic.

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The pair played together at FK Partizan and also represented their country at U-17 and U-21 level.

Smiljanic has represented Serbia six times as senior level, scoring one goal.

He is expected to arrive next week in Perth where he'll undergo a medical.

Meanwhile, the Glory hope it will be a case of no Diego Castro, no worries, when they take on Brisbane in Wednesday night's FFA Cup showdown at Ballymore Stadium.

Castro was the star of the A-League last season, winning the Johnny Warren medal as the competition's best player.

The 34-year-old Spaniard has re-signed with Glory for the coming season, but he won't arrive in Perth until later in August after being granted extra leave during the pre-season.

Glory coach Kenny Lowe has assembled a star-studded squad, with Rhys Williams, Rostyn Griffiths and Adam Taggart among the players who have been added to last season's roster.

Lowe is confident Castro won't have any problems fitting back into the team when he arrives in Perth.

"The foreign boys don't like a 16-week pre-season. They're used to the European six-weeker," Lowe joked on Tuesday.

"He'll be alright. He came last year and adjusted.

"If I remember rightly, last year you lads were questioning him at the beginning of the season. So, I'm sure he'll be OK."

The Roar will be without Danish import Thomas Kristensen, who will be given more time to improve his fitness.

The Glory have reached the past two finals of the FFA Cup, but are yet to land the silverware.

Adelaide beat them in the inaugural year of the competition, before Melbourne Victory downed Perth 2-0 in last year's decider.

Lowe said he would not be using those near misses as inspiration going into the new campaign.

Instead, he said it was important for his team to progress as far as they could to boost their pre-season preparations.

The Roar have been dogged by financial woes during the off-season, with the Queensland Rugby Union even filing an application to have the A-League club wound up.

Lowe knows all too well what it's like to go through off-field dramas after dealing with the fallout of Perth's 2015 salary cap controversy.

He said it was sad seeing Brisbane going through their own turmoil.

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