Williams, Thomas add to Muscat's Melbourne Victory injury concerns
There's no blue sky ahead in Melbourne Victory's A-League season of woe, with player unavailability set to continue to plague Kevin Muscat's side.
Rhys Williams will need medical clearance to take his place in the side to play Wellington on Sunday after being forced from training early on Wednesday.
Ex-Socceroos defender Williams suffered a recurrence of his back complaint during a blisteringly hot session at Gosch's Paddock.
Lawrence Thomas also left training mid-session after a painful finger injury, though Victory officials played down any suggestion the A-League winner would miss the round nine clash.
Williams left the field in Newcastle last Thursday night after just 22 minutes -- and unfortunately must now contend with international travel to play this weekend.
His absence would be keenly felt.
Until his departure against the Jets, Williams had played every minute of Victory's interrupted campaign.
And there's no obvious replacement for the 29-year-old, with James Donachie injured and marquee Mark Milligan -- who can play centre-back -- suspended.
Milligan will sit out against the Nix after his red card for retaliating against ex-Victory defender Daniel Georgievski in their 4-1 drubbing by Newcastle Jets last week.
It's far from his first absence this season, having missed a string of matches -- like James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses -- on international duty.
In addition, Besart Berisha has been suspended and Donachie and Mitch Austin are long-term injury absentees.
Thomas Deng, who could be the only recognised centre-back left standing for Sunday's match, acknowledged Victory's troubled start to the season.
"We've got a few boys out which is unfortunate [but] we've got a squad here of 23 and there are other boys that can step in and do the job," he said on Wednesday.
He backed Argentine midfielder Matias Sanchez, used sparingly by Muscat to date, to step into midfield in Milligan's absence.
"It's a big hit losing Millsy. He's a great player [and] his leadership is good as well. He's going to be a big loss," he said.
"Matty has been working hard since he got here.
"He's always at 100 percent. He's never negative. He's always up for the challenge. He'll be ready to step in."
With just one win to date, the Victory sit eighth on the table -- 12 points behind leaders Sydney FC.