Perth Glory have suffered another injury blow, with attacking star Ryo Nagai ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Newcastle Jets.
Nagai, a former Japanese youth international, scored Glory’s only goal in a 3-1 defeat to Adelaide United last week.
But he strained an adductor at training yesterday and was a notable absentee from today’s session.
Fringe Socceroos defender Michael Thwaite will miss a second game with a hamstring strain, but both he and Nagai are expected to be available for next week’s home game against Melbourne Heart.
Coach Alistair Edwards has several options at his disposal to replace Nagai on the flank, with Adrian Zahra and Chris Harold leading the charge.
“We’ve got a lot of attack-minded players in the squad,” Edwards said.
“Chris Harold has been training really well and Adrian Zahra, so it will be one of those two.”
Nagai and Thwaite are on an injury list that includes marquee striker Shane Smeltz (hip) and Travis Dodd (knee).
Dodd is a long-term prospect, while Smeltz is targeting a return in round four.
“We’d like to have all of our best players available but the training sessions this week have been really intense,” Edwards said.
“I think everyone’s looking forward to the Newcastle game – we’re looking to right the wrongs from last week and get a decent result.”
Newcastle marquee striker Emile Heskey is still sidelined by a knee injury, but the Jets will welcome back former Leeds United and Sunderland attacker Michael Bridges from a groin complaint.
Both sides suffered first-up defeats in round one and will be looking to make amends at Hunter Stadium, where Glory have had the better of their opponents.
Glory have won six and drawn one of their 12 previous A-League games in Newcastle.