Adelaide United coach Carl Veart accepts that the Reds will have to count on their young brigade for their FFA Cup quarter-final clash with Melbourne Victory in Adelaide.
After United’s convincing 4-0 triumph over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night, Veart said the depleted Reds would have to field a number of their younger players for Wednesday’s tie.
Numerous factors, including COVID, injuries and a player departure have forced Veart’s hand.
“Some of our younger players will play on Wednesday night,” Veart confirmed.
“I’d love to say we’re going to go out there and play with our best eleven but that’s not practical at this time of the year at the moment with the loads we’ve got coming up and we’ve got to protect some of our players.”
The Reds confirmed before kick-off that Mohammed Toure and backup keeper Joe Gauci had tested positive for COVID-19 during the week, while Josh Cavallo and Ben Halloran were also absent from the matchday squad.
Veart said Cavallo had been in isolation while Halloran had signed for a Korean club.
“Josh trained this morning. With the pandemic, he had to be in isolation for a while, so he trained this morning and he’ll be available for Wednesday night.
“(Ben) got himself a move to Korea so he’ll move to Korea effective immediately, so we’ll wish him all the best.
“He’s got a great offer on the table, something that he couldn’t resist.”
Joining striker Kusini Yengi on the injured list is shot stopper James Delianov, who could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after injuring his shoulder in a collision with Wellington striker Ben Waine.
Delianov had to be substituted and was replaced on the half hour by Adelaide’s fourth choice keeper, 16-year-old debutant, Steven Hall.
Veart said Hall was in line to start against Victory with Gauci unlikely to recover for the quarter-final.
“We won’t take the risk with James on Wednesday night, young Steven will play again,” he said.
“And we’ve got the other young goalkeeper in our squad, Ethan (Cox). Those two, we’ll make a decision on which one will play Wednesday night.”