Lindsay to miss Heart clash
Wellington Phoenix's already depleted defensive stocks took another hit with news that youngster Cameron Lindsay has been ruled out of Sunday's second-round A-League match against Melbourne Heart through illness.
Already missing seven players away on international duty, the Phoenix were hit hard with Lindsay's withdrawal just hours after arriving in Melbourne.
Lindsay was taken to hospital on Saturday morning after vomiting throughout the night and the youngster, who is in his second season with the club, was bitterly disappointed when medical advice ruled him out.
His omission means Jimmy Downey, who has no pre-season game time under his belt after an injury-hit last season, jumped on an afternoon flight from Wellington to Melbourne.
Young goalkeeper Scott Basalaj, promoted from the Phoenix's Football School of Excellence, has also missed out on making his debut through illness.
Sunday's game will see a return to action for Vince Lia, another who has had an injury interrupted pre-season.
"I've not had a lot of football in the last few months, but I've watched a lot," he said wryly.
"It's going to be a tough game with so many of our regular starters not here, but it's also an opportunity for the young players to shine."
Lia was pencilled in for a start in midfield on Sunday, but Lindsay's demise means he will switch to right back with another youngster, Tom Biss, likely to make his debut in midfield.
"Somehow I just keep floating back there but I'm just happy to be back fit, training and getting a chance to play," Lia said.
"I've got a game almost by default, but it's a chance for me to do well and stake a claim for a regular spot."