Injuries leave Melbourne City coach in a quandary
Melbourne City coach Rado Vidosic admits he is in a quandary as a spate of injuries bite into his A-League Men pacesetters.
Vidosic says he will take all available players on the away trip to Adelaide United on Friday night due to injury uncertainty.
He does not yet know if defensive linchpins Scott Jamieson (calf) and Curtis Good (hip) will be deemed fit enough to return against the fourth-placed Reds.
And with star attacker Mathew Leckie (hamstring) sidelined for two months, Vidosic could be forced to rely on Frenchman Florin Berenguer or former Socceroo Andrew Nabbout on a wing.
Berenguer, who missed the initial 10 rounds because of a hamstring injury, has started the past two games while Nabbout has managed just 29 minutes as a substitute in those two fixtures.
"Andrew ... is nursing an injury and we are trying to look after him as much as we can, that is why he has been coming on and not getting as much (game time) as we would like," Vidosic said on Thursday.
"But he puts his hand up whenever we need him and I am so grateful for that.
"Florin is coming back from his long-term injury and we need to be quite careful with him, not to push him too much too soon - and this is a game where there is only five days between two games."
Vidosic desperately wants to rest Nabboutt ahead of the finals so the 30-year-old has a chance to fully recover from a knee problem.
"He needs a break. But at the moment we just can't afford to give him a break because Raphael (Borges Rodrigues) is away with the (under-20) national team and now this happens to Leckie."
A torn anterior cruciate ligament for young striker Arion Sulemani is compounding Vidosic's problems, while fellow youngster Max Caputo has only just recovered from his knee injury, and 17-year-old Emin Durakovic is unavailable due to concussion.
"We are down on numbers but we will soldier on," Vidosic said ahead of a clash against an Adelaide side which drew 3-3 with City in a Melbourne thriller on January 29.
"This time we are playing away and they are playing at home so maybe there's a little bit more pressure on them to perform and win the game.
"But they have got unbelievable quality in their squad - some very, very promising young players.
"And then their experienced players are not that old, they are all at that middle age in their late 20s so they are in the peak of their football careers and that is another reason why they are so good."