Football: Sigmund adds to Merrick's woes

Ben Sigmund will miss Wellington's match with Brisbane this weekend. Photo / Getty
Ben Sigmund will miss Wellington's match with Brisbane this weekend. Photo / Getty

Wellington defender Ben Sigmund will miss Sunday's A-League clash with Brisbane after re-injuring his hamstring at training.

Sigmund's absence is a telling blow for the Phoenix, who are also without another defensive mainstay in Manny Muscat, after he copped a two-week ban for a forearm strike last week on Central Coast forward Roy O'Donovan.

Wellington are missing eight frontline players for their round-14 match against the Roar, the joint competition leaders.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick will be juggling players to cover for injured strikers Jeffrey Sarpong, Roy Krishna and Alex Rufer, as well as defenders Louis Fenton and Sigmund.

Joining Muscat on the Phoenix's suspension list are key midfielders Alex Rodriguez and Roly Bonevacia, who both sit out one game after accumulating five yellow cards.

Merrick said it was particularly disappointing to see Sigmund pull up lame on Wednesday at Newtown Park.

"We've been bringing him along very slowly and very progressively but without overdoing it. But as soon as he went into a game, it pulled again. It looks like it's going to be a long-term injury - I feel for Ben."

Although Merrick isn't expecting a quick recovery for the 34-year-old defender, who's retiring at the end of the season, he's still optimistic Sigmund hasn't played his last game for the Phoenix.

"We've got another half season to go through, another 14 games," Merrick said. "I think he'll play before the end of the season. We told him he's got to play two more games before he gets his bonus.

Merrick is confident he has the players to cover, pointing to young Australian Dylan Fox as a likely starter in the back four.

"He's been training really well - he's quick, he's technically good and he's got good vision."

Albert Reira returns from his one-match suspension to boost Wellington's midfield, where Merrick is looking at two holding midfielders, with extra attacking options from the likes of New Zealand under-20 rep Joel Stevens or under-17 youngster James McGarry.

"Up front, we've still got Mikey McGlinchey, Blake Powell, Kwabena Appiah, and Logan Rogerson's looking really good.

"You know what it's like - you give someone an opportunity and, all of a sudden, you find a very, very good player."

-AAP

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