Antonis set for Sky Blues A-League return
Sydney FC are set to field one of their most exciting A-League line-ups in a long time with midfield whiz kid Terry Antonis on track to make his return against Wellington at the SFS on Saturday.
The 18-year-old has been sidelined with a hamstring injury for a month and trained strongly in Sydney on Thursday but still has to get through one more session on Friday before he is given the green light.
Sydney have been rejuvenated in recent weeks by players promoted from the youth league with 19-year-old Mitchell Mallia and Joel Chianese, 22, giving Sky Blues' fans plenty to cheer about.
The exciting duo scored in last week's thrilling 2-1 win over Adelaide with the speedy Mallia producing a quality finish late in the match after coming on as a substitute for Chianese who played with a fractured arm.
Antonis's return has been offset by news veteran midfielder Karol Kisel would most likely miss his second consecutive match with a groin injury.
"Terry trained earlier this week and we'll see because we have a full session today (Thursday) and tomorrow and we'll make a final decision after that ... he's more of a chance than Karol," Vitezslav Lavicka said.
Kisel returned to full training on Thursday but was rated a 50-50 chance by Lavicka of playing against the fourth-placed Phoenix.
Sixth-placed Sydney will be seeking revenge against Wellington who have beaten them twice this season with both games played in New Zealand.
Wellington have lost their past two matches against Central Coast and Brisbane but Sydney goalkeeper Ivan Necevski is wary of the Phoenix, especially striker Paul Ifill who has scored twice against the Sky Blues this season.
"He's (Ifill) a big threat, he likes to have a lot of room around him and we have to make sure he doesn't have any room ... I think if we stop him, we'll go a long way to getting the three points," he said.
Necevski, who has spent most of his time at Sydney since 2007 as a back-up keeper, has thrived since getting his chance after Liam Reddy was dumped following Sydney's 5-2 thumping by Newcastle.
Since then, Necevski has made it impossible for Lavicka to drop him with the big keeper turning in two quality performances including a man-of-the-match winning effort against Adelaide.
"I've enjoyed the last couple of games and, hopefully, I can get a few more under my belt before the finals," he said.