Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League Women’s Head Coach Ante Juric is bullish ahead of this Saturday’s home game with Wellington Phoenix, despite a raft of injuries, suspension and international call-ups depleting his squad.
The Sky Blues face last placed Nix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium at 3pm but will be without three key defensive options following a send off and a head clash in the final minutes of Sunday’s 3-0 win over Western United.
Captain Natalie Tobin will miss one game following a second controversial red card of the season, as she collected a second yellow when her hand brushed the face of Melissa Taranto innocuously in a tackle for the ball.
From the resultant free-kick a head clash between centre half Charlotte McLean and goalkeeper Jada Whyman led to both being taken from the field with concussion and both will miss this weekend’s game.
For McLean the spell on the sidelines is likely to be extended having also sustained a suspected fractured cheekbone. The 23-year old will find out later this week the extent of the injury.
It leaves Juric with a defensive headache this weekend, particularly with regular defensive midfielder Shay Hollman playing AFC Under-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifers with the Young Matildas alongside goalkeeper Tahlia Franco.
“It’s disappointing because these players have had great seasons,” said Juric.
“But we feel that any players coming into our team from our squad can do a job for the team, and that’s no different this weekend.”
Irish and New Zealand internationals Deborah-Anne de la Harpe and Anna Green are the most likely to deputise at the heart of defence with goalkeeper Katie Offer to return between the sticks.
Fellow shot-stopper Jasmine Black, who sat on the bench for the Sky Blues away to Brisbane Roar on New Year’s Eve, is also likely to return as an injury replacement, if she recovers from a bout of Covid.
15-year old Indiana Dos Santos who made her debut on Sunday could return after slotting into the midfield position where Tobin was deputising before she was sent off.
Meanwhile striker Madison Haley is doubtful after missing the last two matches with a hip injury with Rachel Lowe set to continue after two goals while Jynaya Dos Santo and Anika Stajcic are also away with the Young Matildas.