John Adshead's joy at his latest signing - Australian midfielder Zenon C' />

It's been a good news, bad news week for the New Zealand Knights' gaffer.

John Adshead's joy at his latest signing - Australian midfielder Zenon Caravella - was muted somewhat when, on the same day, he learned that exciting Japanese-born, Australian-based midfielder Naoki Imaya had broken his leg while playing a state league match in Sydney and could be four months away from Hyundai A-League action.

"He [Imaya] is not our player until June 1," Adshead said. "We are still expecting him here around that time, but until then we will be guided by medical people in Sydney until our staff can have a look at him.

"We understand it will be five or six weeks before he can start serious training and probably three months before he will be running freely. That could mean four months in a worst-case scenario before he is ready to play."

The injury setback has other complications given the strict 20-player criteria for the eight franchises.

"We will probably know more after Naoki has had a CT scan and take it from there," Adshead said.

Somewhat ironically, Imaya and Caravella are neighbours although when speaking to the Herald this week, Caravella was unaware of Imaya's misfortune.

"Our state league can be a bit rough like that," said Caravella, who, too, is playing in the domestic competition before flying to Auckland to join the Knights.

Although Adshead has signed the 22-year-old Caravella sight unseen, he has no doubt he will do the job.

"We have been tracking him for three months. He is a neat and tidy player and while we had some reservations about his work rate early on, we have since learned the game we had watched [on video] was his first back from injury," said Adshead. "He is a consistent player who plays off both feet.

"When Tommy [assistant coach Tommy Mason] came back from England and had a look at the DVD we had of Caravella and I asked him if he had seen any better available players in the UK, he said he hadn't, so we signed him.

"We think he is a good signing. He comes from good bloodlines."

And that is something Caravella is reluctant to expand on.

He is the nephew of long-time Australian international and now Socceroos coach Frank Farina, who is his mother's brother.

"It is not something I talk a lot about. I want to do everything I can in football on my own."

And, there has been plenty of that.

Born in Cairns but Sydney-based for the past nine years, Caravella, of Australian-born Italian parents, says he has been "playing soccer since I was in nappies".

"In Cairns there was not a lot to do other than fish and play footy. Now I have the chance to play football professionally again," said Caravella, who has been marking time since the demise of the old national league by working as a hairdresser in the long-established family business.

"All my family are hairdressers, but I would rather be playing football."

He returns to Auckland, after playing here three times for Sydney Olympic against the Football Kingz, on a one-year contract, with the option of a second.

"I was over the moon when I was approached. I just wanted a chance after missing out on a trial with them through injury," said Caravella, who said interest across the Tasman in the A-League is "huge", some days pushing league off the front pages.

That could be the case this weekend when the seven Australian clubs in the new league - the Knights weren't invited - kick off a mini round-robin to find their representative in the Oceania club championship in Tahiti.

Adshead will watch his league rivals in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.

"I'll be away for 10 days and use it as a chance to watch not only the other teams but check prospective Knights players as well."

* Zenon Caravella

Born: Cairns, Australia.
DoB: March 17, 1983
Clubs: Sydney Olympic (Olympic Sharks), NZ Knights
Position: Midfield

* The Knights

Danny Hay (Walsall/Waitakere United)
Noah Hickey (Tampere United, Finland/Waitakere United)
Glen Moss (Sydney Olympic/Bonnyrigg White Eagles)
Darren Bazeley (Walsall)
Josh Maguire (Blacktown City Demons, NSW)
Neil Emblen (Walsall)
Sean Devine (Exeter City)
Steve Fitzsimmons (Brisbane Strikers)
Danny Milosevic (Leeds United)
John Tambouras (Football Kingz/South Melbourne)
Frank van Eijs (LG Hanoi, Vietnam)
Naoki Imaya (Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland)
Zenon Caravella (Sydney Olympic)