Injury cloud over Phoenix import Albert Riera

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014
Albert Riera
GETTY IMAGES
RAPID RISE: Albert Riera has gone from paramedic to Phoenix player of the year to a member of the A-League All-Stars side in the space of just four years.

Relevant offers

Football

Russian football clubs push for pay cuts after fall in the rouble Harry Redknapp confident QPR can stay up and keep Austin Zlatan Ibrahimovic unhappy at coming second on list of Swedish greats Auckland City FC resigned to losing coach Ramon Tribulietx Atletico Madrid president hints at possible Fernando Torres return Fresh start for New Zealand football in 2014 Arsenal's injury epidemic more than anecdotal Wellington Phoenix vs Auckland City game a no go for now Auckland City's Simon Arms back to study after Club World Cup whirlwind Auckland City's Club World Cup heroes arrive home, already looking overseas

The depth of the Wellington Phoenix will be severely tested after key midfielder Albert Riera suffered a suspected groin tear at training yesterday.

Riera has been nursing a tight groin for most of the season, yet in his debut A-League campaign has emerged as arguably the Phoenix's most important player.

Disappointed Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said Riera would be assessed today ahead of tomorrow's visit to the Newcastle Jets.

But the Spanish import is likely to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

"It could be [several weeks], yeah," Merrick said.

"Deep groin muscles aren't good to deal with so it could be a little while before he's back . . . it doesn't look good. He's been outstanding. It is sad because he's been playing very well, he's been running the show, he's turned out to be one of the best middle midfielders in the league."

If Riera is ruled out, Alex Rufer willhis place in join today's travelling squad.

The Phoenix are already without the injured Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Leo Bertos, while Kenny Cunningham and Michael Boxall are suspended for the match.

Uncapped fullback Josh Brindell-South appears set to edge Reece Caira for Boxall's spot, while Matthew Ridenton and Jason Hicks are the frontrunners to come in for Riera and Cunningham.

The in-form Vince Lia is likely to move into Riera's vital role of screening the back four.

"It's a leadership role," Merrick said.

"Vince Lia and Carlos Hernandez have got to step up because we've lost Kenny who's an experienced international player as well. So it's leadership in the midfield and under pressure you soon discover who your leaders are and who are not."

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Burnley retain their EPL status?

Yes, they've found a winning formula

Maybe, but there’s a long way to go

No. They lack quality in certain areas

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content