Soccer: Durante unlikely to face Brisbane

Andrew Durante. Photo / Getty Images
Andrew Durante. Photo / Getty Images

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is likely to miss tomorrow's clash with A-League champions Brisbane Roar after spending the night in hospital.

The influential central defender went to hospital after vomiting and, while he was back home this morning, it is hard to see him recovering enough to take his place in the starting line up.

Coach Ricki Herbert named Durante in a 17-man squad following training but wasn't too hopeful of him playing.

"It has been that kind of week," Herbert said. "The last 10 days have been interesting with players away on international duty and young Cameron (Lindsay) taking ill in Melbourne last week.

"Just when we thought we were over the worst our captain goes down with a virus but we just have to get on with the job if he can't play."

Michael Boxall, who played alongside Durante against Heart last week with Ben Sigmund on international duty, will be the obvious replacement to pair Sigmund in the middle of defence.

Herbert is bracing himself for a tough game against the two-time champions but is confident his players are up to the task.

"Brisbane are a strong side and they are coming here on the back of a top result (a 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory) and it should be a great game," he said. "At home we have been able to get at teams and this game is no different. They are a difficult team to contain but I'm confident we can match them."

One of the biggest tests for the Phoenix will be containing Roar's free-scoring striker Besart Berisha who has netted 23 times in 31 appearances for the Queensland side.

Durante's absence won't help the Phoenix cause but Boxall showed in a solid debut last week that he is up to the challenge.

- APNZ

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