Sydney FC's Del Piero, Emerton to miss clash

SEBASTIAN HASSETT
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
Alessandro del Piero
Getty Images
INVALIDED: Back and hamstring issues will keep Alessandro Del Piero from making the trip across the Tasman to face the Wellington Phoenix.

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Sydney FC marquee pairing Alessandro Del Piero and Brett Emerton have been ruled out of tomorrow's clash with Wellington Phoenix at Wellington Stadium.

Sky Blues' coach Frank Farina has decided to give the pair the weekend off given that neither were able to complete training this week.

Del Piero only played the first half against Melbourne Heart last week before needing to come off and Emerton was only able to manage the final 45 minutes.

The Italian has been battling back and hamstring issues in recent weeks, despite pulling off a sensational strike against the Heart.

Emerton has been fighting a back problem and muscle tightness since the start of the year.

Farina said it wasn't worth the risk to push them against the league's equal-bottom club.

"It's not bad for Alessandro but with the amount of games coming up and the travel involved in getting to Wellington, he'll miss the game and won't be travelling with us when we leave on Saturday morning," Farina said. "Because we've got Brisbane and Adelaide coming up in pretty quick succession, we think it makes more sense to rest him. It's the same with Emmo. Hopefully he'll miss only one week and we'll see how he is and whether he can face Brisbane."

Both marquees have been a source of frustration for Farina this year, with Del Piero averaging just 62 minutes in his eight games and Emerton starting just four matches since round one.

Former Phoenix striker Corey Gameiro is in line to make his Sydney debut after a nightmare run.

"We know that as long as we don't get too many injuries at once, we've got the depth to handle it," Farina said. "The reality is we'll get two or three injuries at any one time and, right now, we can wear that."

The Phoenix were desperately unlucky not to come away with at least a point from Thursday night's visit to North Sydney Oval where they generated a glut of chances but failed to convert and ended up losing 1-0 to Central Coast.

Just as Farina warned his players against complacency against the Heart last weekend, it's the same message against the league's other winless club.

"They were very unlucky last night but it all came down to their lack of finishing. I told our players I hope they bring the same boots on Sunday," he said.

"But they're a dangerous side and on their day they'll hurt somebody."

AT A GLANCE

What: A-League, round 11
Where: Westpac Stadium
When: 7pm tomorrow
TV: Live on Sky Sport 2
Referee: Peter O'Leary
TAB: Phoenix $2.25, Sydney $3, Draw $3.30

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Phoenix (from): Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Manny Muscat, Albert Riera, Vince Lia, Kenny Cunningham, Carlos Hernandez, Stein Huysegems, Jeremy Brockie, Lewis Italiano, Leo Bertos, Jason Hicks, Paul Ifill, Tyler Boyd, Michael Boxall, Matthew Ridenton

Sydney (from): Vedran Janjetovic, Pedj Bojic, Seb Ryall, Nikola Petkovic, Ali Abbas, Matt Thompson, Nicky Carle, Richard Garcia, Chris Naumoff, Joel Chianese, Ranko Despotovic, Ivan Necevski, Matt Jurman, Terry McFlynn, Yairo Yau, Corey Gameiro

- Sydney Morning Herald

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