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Shinji Ono to be sidelined

Western Sydney marquee man Shinji Ono is expected to miss Sunday's A-League match against a winless Wellington with a minor groin strain.

The Wanderers' Shinji Ono exposed Sydney FC's weaknesses at the back.
Western Sydney will be without their marquee man against Phoenix.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has rated the Japanese star a 50-50 chance for the away clash at Westpac Stadium, but insisted the injury - suffered in Friday's 3-1 loss to ladder-leaders Brisbane - was not serious.

Ono was substituted before half-time as a precaution after complaining of tightness in his groin.

"We're not expecting him to play," Popovic said before training on Monday.

"It's not a serious injury, which is great. At best, he's 50-50 for that match.

"He would have to probably have a great recovery by Thursday-Friday to have a chance, but at the moment I don't expect to see him out there.

"But the player's very optimistic he's a chance. We'll just wait and see."

Defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley said Ono played a vital role in the team and would be missed.

"He's a very important part to what we do, but (his exclusion is) an opportunity for someone else to step up and stake a claim," he said.

Last week's round seven loss was the Wanderers' first in 18 regular season matches, relegating them to second on the ladder behind the Roar.

Besart Berisha's fifth-minute brace also ended the Wanderers' remarkable record of never conceding a goal inside the opening 20 minutes of an A-League match.

Popovic conceded he was not happy about the defeat but said both he and his charges were ready to move on.

"We learnt some lessons from that game and we performed well, but there are areas where we can improve," he said.

"On another day, we could've come in certainly drawing or winning that game. We didn't and we have to accept that and just move forward to the next challenge."

The Phoenix sit second-last on the ladder with three losses and as many draws, but the Wanderers coach doesn't believe they are far away from their maiden win of the season.

"They're playing good football in every single match," Popovic said, noting their last encounter in round two ended in a draw.

"We won't take them lightly, that's for sure."



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