Brisbane Roar manager Mike Mulvey has conceded his side’s long injury list my force his hand on Sunday against Melbourne Heart, with several of the squad’s younger members in line for a call-up to the senior team.
Roar’s injury concerns continue to mount following last Friday’s 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory, with confirmation earlier this week that midfielder Liam Miller will miss up to a month with a torn calf muscle.
Miller joins Besart Berisha on the sidelines this weekend as the Albanian striker continues to struggle to bounce back from a hamstring injury sustained in the Round 2 win over Sydney FC.
Doubts also surround the availability of Luke Brattan, who came off second best following a challenge from Victory defender Adrian Leijer last weekend and trained separate from the main squad on Wednesday.
Ivan Franjic also sat out training with illness, while Shane Stefanutto ended his session early with a leg complaint that will be assessed by the Roar medical team later today.
Despite admitting the injury toll was an unwelcome challenge, Mulvey said he had no qualms about calling on the younger members of the squad to fill the void if needed.
“You never like to cop injuries but they do happen,” Mulvey said following a highly competitive conditioning session on Wednesday.
“The important thing is we recognise the quality we got in our younger players and the opportunities it gives to the players who have not been playing in the first team.”
“I’m sure they are ready to step-up and do their very best for Brisbane Roar. That’s the main thing.”
Mulvey suggested several members of the Roar Youth side that battled valiantly in a come-from-behind 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory Youth on Saturday could be in line for selection, including Lachlan Jackson, Dimitri Petratos and James Donachie (pictured).
“At the beginning of the season, one thing we did was brought in five of our promising youth team players and they’ve been training with us from June 3rd,’ Mulvey explained.
“It was every intention that they would make up the bulk of the squad for the rest of the year and at some stage they were going to be called upon.”
“It’s already happened with Kwame (Yeboah) and it might happen with a couple others in the time that’s in front of us.”
“We’ve got every faith in those players and you got to give youth a chance. I’ve never been afraid to do that in my time.”
Mulvey said he knew what to expect from Melbourne Heart and promised that the home fans wouldn’t be disappointed despite the selection headaches.
“They’ve stated their intentions that they are going to play counter attacking football and they’re very dangerous on the counter-attack. They’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of guile.”
“We’re playing at home, we’re going to take the game to them. The onus is on us to make the running, so we’ll be doing that,” Mulvey surmised confidently.