Melbourne Victory’s battle with the injury bug shows no signs of slowing, with German defender Georg Niedermeier set for another stint on the sidelines.
Niedermeier, who has already dealt with multiple concussions and a rolled ankle in his short time with the defending A-League champions, was brought on as an 89th minute substitute in Victory’s 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday evening.
The 32-year-old, however, aggravated his calf during his brief cameo and Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat said that it could harbour another several weeks missed.
“The only one at the moment is Georg,” Muscat responded when asked about the fallout from the Wanderers clash.
“Georg will miss this week.
“He’s come on and managed to hurt his calf, so he’ll miss this week and probably the next two or three weeks.
“I’m more frustrated (for) him.
“He’s worked tirelessly and he’s just going through a bit of a spell at the moment.
“A couple of concussions in succession and then rolling your ankle and then his calf so… It’s just really, I suppose, down for him.
“That’s part and parcel of professional sport but it’s just, for him personally, it’s a bit of a downer.”
Niedermeier joins the likes of Keisuke Honda and Nick Ansell on the injury list for Melbourne Victory, testing the depth of Muscat’s squad during one of the busiest periods of the year.
However, in slightly more positive developments for Melbourne’s navy blue side, Raul Baena was also able to make a late cameo in that game against the Red and Black; introduced as an 82nd minute substitute for Terry Antonis.
Though the Spaniard was able to escape the game without complications, Muscat indicated that he didn’t expect the 29-year-old to be able to start in the coming week.
“I don’t think so,” Muscat said.
“I wouldn’t have thought so.
“He contributed well when he did manage to come on the other day and the temptation was there to bring him on a lot earlier, but he’s obviously feeling good and happy with himself and got some confidence back and again.
“We won’t be taking any risks with him and look forward to integrating him into the team as permits.”
Despite the spate of injuries sweeping AAMI Park, Victory has remained been able to keep rolling during the young A-League season, undefeated since being downed in round two by Perth Glory.
They will tomorrow night travel to South Australia to renew hostilities in the ‘Original Rivalry’ with Adelaide United, before returning to Melbourne on Saturday night to take 2017-18 grand final foes Newcastle Jets.
— Daily Football Show (@DFS_AUS) January 7, 2019
Muscat stressed that his side’s run of excellent form didn’t mean that the club was resting on their laurels, however, when it came to the transfer market or their ongoing evolution on the pitch.
“You’re always ears open and eyes to the ground,” Muscat said when asked about the January transfer window.
“There’s a lot of difficulties that arise with numbers and salary cap and all those things but at this point in time, we’re really happy with the squad we’ve got.
“If anything, it’s been the story of our season.
“We’ve been bringing players in and losing players and bringing players in and it’s a credit to the boys that we’ve been able to maintain a level of performance that’s earned us results.
“I think if you want to make progress you have to evolve.
“As part of this block, January, you want to get to through this block being a better team, performing better, getting better understandings whilst we’re being challenged.
“Because getting better understandings while players in the XI are changing is a good opportunity to see if we can be a better team at the end of January.
“Having said that, the narrow focus is on Adelaide tomorrow night.
“I’m looking forward to it because we go across to Adelaide and the atmosphere’s good and we’ve got a fair contingent of our fans and members going across.
“So, it’ll be an exciting game to be involved in. They’re always high intensity and high octane games against Adelaide.”