Smith vows to help Brisbane Roar
Sitting on the sidelines watching his Brisbane Roar side struggle was tough enough for injured captain Matt Smith.
But being left behind when his teammates flew out for their Asian Champions League (ACL) qualifier in Thailand proved the final straw.
Smith says he is more motivated than ever to avoid the surgeon's knife and help turn around the Roar after being reduced to the role of frustrated TV viewer for Brisbane's ACL play-off match against Buriram United on Wednesday night.
Smith said the hip injury that had sidelined him since January would be reassessed after the Roar return from Thailand - hopefully with an ACL berth.
At one stage Smith had contemplated season-ending surgery.
Now Smith is keeping his fingers crossed that medical staff clear him to provide season-resurrecting form.
"I am hopeful of playing again this season, it is getting better," Smith told AAP.
"This is probably the longest I have ever been injured in my career - it's very frustrating and very hard to watch.
"If I do get a chance I want to make an impact this season and I want to help the team."
The Roar will be vying to join K-League champion FC Seoul, J-League runner-up Vegalta Sendai and Chinese Super League runner-up Jiangsu Sainty in the ACL's Group E.
But Smith hoped a win in Thailand would achieve much more.
"A win in something like this can spark something for a team," he said.
"And hopefully that sparks something for our A-League season too."
Roar coach Mike Mulvey will also be sweating on a form reversal.
The Roar sit one win outside the A-League top six - not an ideal spot for Mulvey whose future has only been guaranteed until the end of the season.
And Perth Glory's sacking of Ian Ferguson this week would have been a timely reminder of what happens to an underperforming coach.
"We want to turn it around for our coach, but we also want to it around for ourselves, our club and our fans," Smith said of Mulvey's plight.
"We have been far and below what everyone has expected but we are working hard to ensure we put in a good end to the season."
Mulvey on Tuesday named a 19-man squad for the ACL qualifier
"We've got players who have played all over the world and I think that experience will count for a lot when we come up against a very good Buriram United," Mulvey said.
Brisbane Roar finished with three draws and three losses on ACL debut last season.
If they qualify, their first fixture is away to Vegalta Sendai in Japan on February 26 before hosting FC Seoul two weeks later at Brisbane Stadium.
Brisbane Roar squad: Michael Theo, Shane Stefanutto, Matthew Jurman, Ivan Franjic, Besart Berisha, Massimo Murdocca, Stefan Nijland, Ben Halloran, Jade North, Steven Lustica, James Donachie, Mitch Nichols, Luke Brattan, Jack Hingert, Matthew Acton, James Meyer, Thomas Broich (capt), George Lambadaridis, Corey Brown.