Melbourne City has been dealt another blow ahead of their match against the Wellington Phoenix with defender Richard Windbichler ruled out.
The Austrian centre-back injured his hamstring at training on Tuesday and could miss up to a month of football, according to head coach Erick Mombaerts.
This creates a tricky situation for Mombaerts, who will also be without striker Jamie Maclaren (hamstring), Florin Berenguer (hamstring) and Harrison Delbridge (suspension) for the upcoming match.
It is expected Lachlan Wales or Moudi Najjar will start up-front this weekend, as City will be forced to find alternate route to goal with Maclaren scoring all four of the side’s goals this season.
“We have some options, we played the first game with Moudi and also have Lachlan or Adrian Luna as a false nine so we have these three options,” Mombaerts said.
“We have practiced these three options and maybe we will start with one, in the back we also have some optins maybe with dropping Rostyn [Griffiths] for example or play with a fullback as a centre back.
“We know that Jamie is an important player for us, but we also need to [replace] him when he is injured or with the national team, so we need to find a solution.”
The side would have lost Maclaren for a brief period anyway, with the Socceroos scheduled to face Jordan in a World Cup qualifier on November 15.
Dennis Genreau is another player who could potentially depart on international duty with the Olyroos squad set to be announced in the next few days.
Despite not agreeing with playing during the international break, Mombaerts encourages his younger players to fill the void left by the players out of the squad.
“I don’t agree with this solution but that’s why we need to work with our young players because we have lots of young players in the squad to help them to improve their levels to substitute Jamie,” he said.
“Dennis is also a player for the national team U23’s so it’s a big problem for me, not for this week but in a few days.
“He showed he can play for this team so that’s a good option for me, to compete I need to have this solution because I have a lot of young players in the squad.”
City will have the chance to extend their unbeaten run when they host the winless Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park.
While Wellington has not beaten City in Melbourne since 2013, Mombaerts believes it is still too early in the season to make any judgements.
“It’s the beginning of the season so we don’t know the levels of all teams, they did well [last week] they lost the game, but it was not too big of a difference,” he said.
“A characteristic of the A-League is that it’s a transition game, so to do well in this competition we need to be strong in transition, but we want to control the game with possession-based football.”