Heart lose top scorer Tadic for six weeks
Battling A-League club Melbourne Heart have been dealt a severe blow with the loss of top scorer Josip Tadic for up to six weeks.
Tadic has been sidelined by the broken toe he suffered in the first half of last weekend's 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
Heart coach John Aloisi said the upside was that it was unlikely Tadic would need to undergo surgery.
"It is disappointing because Josip has been a class target man for us and obviously it's not great to lose players of that quality during a run toward the final series," Aloisi said.
"Fortunately, the extent of the injury is not as severe as we first thought and hopefully Josip will be available for selection in our final three to four matches and beyond."
But in another setback for the club, 20-year-old left-back Sam Mitchinson suffered a quadricep strain on Tuesday which will force him miss up to four weeks.
Mitchinson stepped in for six matches this season, covering for Aziz Behich when he was on international duty and then after he moved to Turkish Super Lig side Bursaspor last week.
Mitchinson and Tadic join Dylan Macallister (adductor), Simon Colosimo (calf) and Fred (quad strain) on the sidelines while Mate Dugandzic (foot) has been sidelined for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, the Heart have released 31-year-old central defender Steven Gray with the player and club parting ways by mutual consent.
To help cover the transfers of Behich and Michael Marrone, the release of Gray and injury to Mitchinson, Heart have signed former Sydney FC and Perth Glory defender Jaime Coyne.
The 32-year-old recently returned to Australia from a stint with Indonesia Super League club Sriwijaya.
A versatile and athletic defender, Coyne will link up with the team ahead of this weekend's match against Perth Glory.