History threatens to repeat for the All Whites, with the loss of Andrew Durante to injury today.

The Wellington Phoenix skipper suffered a groin adductor tear in the 3-2 loss to Sydney FC last Sunday, leaving the field in the 80th minute.

He is expected to see a specialist on Friday for a second opinion, but the initial prognosis indicated Durante would be sidelined for at least eight weeks.

The New Zealand side still has a range of options in central defence, but that could change in the coming weeks.


Winston Reid turned out for the All Whites against Japan in Nagoya, but has only just returned from injury. Reid needs to get through the next few games for West Ham, and has been plagued by various ailments over the last 18 months.

There is also a question mark over Tommy Smith. Though he is expected to be fit for November, the former skipper is not guaranteed to feature in Wellington as he is struggling with a hamstring injury. He has made two appearances for the Ipswich Under-23 side, but has yet to figure for the first team.

Michael Boxall has been a constant fixture under Hudson, while Themi Tzimopolous will be back in the picture, especially given his big match experience in Greece. Sam Brotherton is likely to join the squad in place of Durante.

But Hudson can't afford any more injuries to key defenders. It happened in 2013, when Reid turned his ankle days before the All Whites were set to assemble for the first leg at the Azteca Stadium against Mexico.

New Zealand never really recovered, losing 9-3 on aggregate across the two legs across Mexico.

Durante's injury could also signal the end of an era. If the All Whites don't progress past Peru - and the South American team are clear favourites- then he may not wear the Silver Fern again. The 35-year-old has contributed an immense amount to the game in this country, and while he is the twilight of his career and has lost some pace, his experience was vital for both club and country. He was also a leader in the All Whites environment; a reassuring figure in a dressing room full of young players.

His absence will also be a significant blow for the Phoenix. When the team had their first choice back four last year their defence was reasonably solid, but they fell apart when they had to plug the gaps. There is more cover this season but Durante will be missed. Fellow central defender Marco Rossi has also been struggling with an injury while Daniel Mullen is new to the club.