'Tim Cahill doesn't have to prove anything to anybody' - Kenny Lowe
Perth A-League coach Kenny Lowe would love nothing more than to see star Socceroo Tim Cahill wrapped up in cotton wool for one more week, but he knows his wishes will fall on deaf ears.
Cahill's future at Melbourne City has been a big talking point amid rumours he has fallen out with coach Warren Joyce.
The 37-year-old is desperate to receive regular game time in his bid to make it to next year's World Cup in Russia.
Cahill has started just one match this season for City and injured his ankle early in the 1-0 loss to Sydney FC.
Whether he is named in the starting line-up for Friday night's clash with the Glory at AAMI Park remains to be seen.
Lowe hopes he doesn't see Cahill's name on the team sheet.
"I think Warren should keep Timmy wrapped in cotton wool for another week," Lowe joked.
"I think we should look after him. He's getting on a bit. Take care of him and unleash him next week -- that would be nice."
Lowe denied Cahill needed to put in a big display to prove his worth to City.
"You know what, Tim Cahill doesn't have to prove anything to anybody -- dear me," Lowe said.
"What he's done, where he's been, what he's achieved and the manner that he's done it -- he doesn't need to prove anything to anybody.
"He's still got plenty left in him. But it would be nice if the plenty left in him was next week, not this week."
Third-placed City, having lost 3-1 last week to Brisbane, are set to be boosted by the return of Cahill and Ross McCormack (achilles soreness).
But the Glory's playing stocks are running thin after a debilitating run on the injury front.
Adam Taggart (hamstring), Diego Castro (calf) Andreu (calf) and Scott Neville (groin) aren't ready to return, meaning Lowe might need to turn to 16-year-old midfielder Jacob Italiano again.
Italiano was solid last week in his debut, showing poise beyond his years in the 2-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.
With so many of his star players out, Lowe said it was a chance for one of the club's young guns to make a name for themselves.
"We're looking to see who's going to step up and be a Castro, be a Taggart," Lowe said.
"You never know, the young 16-year-old might come up and bang a brace in and keep them all out of the team for the rest of the season."
The Glory are seventh on the table after two-straight losses.