Friday, December 14, 2012
Phoenix injuries concern A-League coach
By Cathy Walshe
Wellington coach Ricki Herbert is more concerned about injuries closer to home than Sydney FC marquee signing Alessandro del Piero's dodgy hamstring.The Italian superstar will miss Sunday's A-League match against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium, but Herbert says he's more focused on doubts surrounding the fitness of key defender Ben Sigmund and dynamic young striker Louis Fenton.Fenton, who scored a spectacular diving header in Wellington's opening round 2-0 defeat of Sydney, has picked up an ankle injury while Sigmund has a groin problem.Herbert rates the chances of the pair playing as 50-50, but says both seem to be improving, and he is delaying any decision until Saturday.All Whites' defender Michael Boxall is the logical replacement should Sigmund not regain full fitness, while Dani Sanchez might start on the bench if Fenton doesn't recover in time.The Spaniard is completing a return to fitness after a long stint battling a knee injury, showing promising form for the Phoenix reserve team in a midweek fixture against Waitakere United.Sydney FC sit bottom of the A-League table, with two wins from nine starts. Under new coach Frank Farina, they battled out a scoreless draw with Melbourne Heart last week, but haven't won a match since their fourth-round 2-1 victory over Perth Glory in October.Herbert says the Sydneysiders still present a challenge, albeit probably a more unpredictable one with Farina at the helm."He's got a task ahead of him, but I'm sure he's capable of doing it," Herbert said after Friday training."I think they'll be a pretty positive side - I'm not sure they'll come here and sit back. He's got everything to gain, and not a lot to lose at the moment."