The loss of Brazilian playmaker Daniel for Friday night’s Hyundai A-League 2007/08 round seven match against the Queensland Roar is a blow but Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert sees a potential silver lining.
Daniel copped a one-match suspension after being shown his fourth yellow card of the season in last weekend’s 4-1 win against the Perth Glory in Wellington.
The Brazilian has been one of the stars of the Phoenix’s promising campaign to date and will be a big loss in Brisbane, but Herbert said that loss could be another player’s gain.
“Daniel’s out of the team and that’s disappointing, but opportunity knocks for another player. Daniel’s been in great form but we always knew that we’d lose players through the season through injury or suspension. We’re not the only club that will have to deal with this sort of thing happening and the players that come in know they need to seize their opportunity.”
With Daniel ruled out, midfielders Michael Ferrante and Tim Brown come into the mix to replace the Brazilian in Friday night’s match at Suncorp Stadium.
Ferrante has had more time on the park for the Phoenix so far this season while vice-captain Brown’s campaign has been hampered by injury. Both have different dimensions to add to the Phoenix’s midfield, with the hard-working Ferrante probably getting the nod to start having already shown his ability to effectively distribute the ball and to get into goal-scoring positions.
Herbert said he had not made a final decision on the makeup of the Phoenix team to take on the Roar.
“I’m not totally sure what we’ll do yet but I’m pleased to have such high-calibre options in Michael and Tim. Both players are exceptional and have different qualities to bring to the lineup, so I’ll assess things a little closer to kickoff.”
While the Phoenix have had a great start to the season with two wins, two draws and two losses, the Roar have struggled.
But Herbert was not underestimating the threat that Frank Farina’s team posed.
“Playing away from home is always difficult in this competition and the Roar will be another tough proposition. They’ve been playing well but haven’t had the breaks go their way. No doubt they’ll be wanting to change that, but we’ve also been playing well and last weekend’s result against Perth cemented that. So for us Friday night is about continuing the forward momentum.
“The Roar are a busy side in midfield so we’ll need to match up, otherwise they’ll play right through us.”
Friday night’s match kicks off at 8pm AEST (11pm NZT) and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 1.
Wellington Phoenix FC squad – Round seven, Hyundai A-League 2007/08
Queensland Roar FC v Wellington Phoenix FC
Friday, 5 October 2007
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Ross ALOISI (captain), 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 13. Steven OLD, 14. Steven O’DOR, 15. George PALADINI, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 21. Felipe CAMPOS, 22. Royce BROWNLIE *one to be omitted