Perth Glory will slowly build up star recruit Daniel Sturridge's fitness as they settle into their A-League Men stint on the road.
Sturridge debuted against Adelaide in round one but was a notable absence from Perth's teamsheet altogether in Friday night's 1-0 loss to Western United, the first of eight games on the road.
"We always had a plan for Daniel to build through," coach Richard Garcia said.
"Last week it was a hello to our fans but he needs to be able to build nicely and continue to build his fitness.
"He's looking good but we want to make sure that we have him at the right time we don't want to bring him back for the start and then lose him for a long time.
Garcia conceded Sturridge probably wouldn't have featured at all first-up if Perth hadn't been playing at home, given he'd been in quarantine and missed most of pre-season.
"It takes time to adapt not only to the football but also to the life in general," he said.
"Just travelling alone, the distances we travel in Perth is a new experience for him.
"It doesn't matter how good you are as a player, you are still a person and you still need time to adapt so we want to make sure we respect that time he needs to adapt.
"When he is ready, and we have got him to a point where we feel he is ready, he will be fantastic."
United have two more games in Melbourne before heading to Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.
The Glory's only current coronavirus-related requirement is daily testing as they attempt to settle in to life on the road.
"We want to make it as home-like as possible, we want to make it as normal as possible," Garcia said.
"That's always difficult being in a hotel, not having your friends and family, that's always difficult as well.
"But we want to make sure that the players are relaxed in their minds, that way they then can perform. So we'll treat it as if we're back in Perth."
Garcia was confident the long trip wouldn't take its toll.
"We've got a group of great leaders who will guide the group as well as a real unity in the dressing room," he said.
"That's something that we have been really impressed with the season.
"The right personnel are starting to come into the club to be able to build and grow something special."