New Zealand-based A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix have signed defender Manny Muscat as a short-term injury replacement.
The 23-year-old joins Phoenix from Victorian Premier League club Green Gully as cover for fellow Australian Vince Lia, who has been ruled out of the upcoming A-League season with a knee injury.
Muscat provides the Phoenix with cover at left and right-back, which could be useful with left-back Tony Lochhead currently on trial with English Premier League outfit Middlesbrough.
'It's an awesome feeling to get my first A-League contract,' said Muscat. 'Wellington's a great place to be, the team is awesome and all the boys have really helped me settle in. My aim now is just to put my head down and work hard. If an opportunity comes to play first XI football I'll be looking to grab it with both hands.'
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was impressed with Muscat's debut during the 3-2 Pre-Season Cup win against Sydney.
'He only had two sessions with us before we played Sydney FC and he played extremely well,' said Herbert. 'Then he backed that up on Wednesday night with a pretty comprehensive performance.
'Manny is primarily a replacement for Vinnie but he also gives us an option on the left. His role in the two games he's played for us was to show us he was a good enough defender to sign for the club. He's ticked that box.
'As he spends more time with us that role will involve him getting further up the park and I have no doubt he will be able to do that.'