Toivonen under injury cloud for A-L derby

Written by admin on 18/06/2019 Categories: 苏州性息

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat won’t rule him out but star striker Ola Toivonen faces a battle to make his A-League debut in Saturday night’s derby after missing training on Friday.
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The giant Swede is one several in doubt for the showpiece match, including club captain Carl Valeri.

There’s no doubt over Keisuke Honda, a confirmed starter at Marvel Stadium where 40,000 people are expected to welcome the champions back into action.

Georg Neidermeier and Corey Brown are also certain to debut, as is returning defender Nick Ansell.

Muscat said Valeri was “in a good place” even though the 34-year-old didn’t play in two recent friendlies.

Ever the optimist, Muscat was putting a positive spin on Valeri’s fitness issue, pointing to new-found depth following a strong summer of recruitment.

“He’s missed a couple of weeks through a little bit of a knock,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a few players that can play in that role.

“Keisuke has played the majority of his football in midfield, Raul (Baena), Leigh Broxham.”

Toivonen, 32, started behind the eight-ball as the last arrival into Victory’s camp and looks likely to start on the bench, if at all.

“Today was the first session he missed. We’ll wait and see in the morning,” Muscat said.

“He obviously wants to play.

“The exciting part of all this is possibly six or seven new faces in the 11.”

Should Toivonen miss, Kenjok Athiu could play in his first derby.

“And what a great opportunity for Kenny,” Muscat said. “He’s been working tirelessly. So there’s positives.”

Victory’s final selection issue is at right-back, where returning Socceroo Thomas Deng will be considered against Storm Roux.

“We were immensely proud of him. It’s a wonderful story isn’t it,” Muscat said of Deng.

“His family coming across to as refugees and getting the opportunity to represent your country was enormous … we certainly made a fuss when he got back.

“Whilst Tommy has been away and done remarkably well for himself Storm has been here working … there’s merits in both of them.”

Opponents Melbourne City aren’t without their selection issues, with eight youth internationals away, Osama Malik (calf), Michael O’Halloran (hamstring) injured and Curtis Good unfit.

“It’s great for the club and the kids but more difficult in training,” coach Warren Joyce said of his missing youngsters.

“It makes selection problems easy,” he laughed.

Ritchie De Laet and Florin Berenguer should start for their A-League debuts.

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