Smith fights for fitness

Matt Smith faces a crucial 24 hour period as the injured Brisbane Roar captain fights to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday night’s Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne Heart.

Matt Smith faces a crucial 24 hour period as the injured Brisbane Roar captain fights to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday night-s Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne Heart.

Smith was replaced at half-time in Brisbane-s 2-1 victory over Sydney FC on the weekend, succumbing to a corked thigh, and has made only minor appearances in the squad-s training sessions since Monday.

Despite his limited involvement in training so far this week, the 29-year-old was confident of starting against the third-placed Heart.

“It-s pulled up pretty good every single day this week,” Smith said.

“It-s done what I needed to do this morning at training but I-ve got a session to get through tomorrow and if I get through that, then I should be good to go on the weekend.

“The swelling has gone down, it-s just a matter of getting that pain level down - it-s pretty deep.

“I-ve just got to get it to a level which I-m comfortable with and if it keeps progressing like it has progressed every day this week, I-m pretty confident.”

Brisbane face a Melbourne outfit which suffered a painful 1-0 loss to league leaders Central Coast Mariners last night despite dominating in all areas of the park.

Heart could have claimed at least a draw if not for a superb goalkeeping display from young Mat Ryan in the Central Coast goal and a late tap-in at the far post from Adam Kwasnik.

While John van-t Schip and his men failed to collect any points from the midweek encounter, Smith said he didn-t anticipate lining up against a demoralised team on Saturday night at AAMI Park.

“I thought they were very unlucky in the game last night and they certainly had their chances to win,” he said.

“I expect much of the same, they-ve got a lot to play for and I expect them to continue from last night-s performance.

“It-s a bit of a sucker punch in the 88th or 89th minute but still, they can take confidence from their performance.

“No one likes to lose a game in the last few minutes and I-m sure they-ll use that motivation ahead of Saturday-s game.”