Schedule causes injuries, says Reds coach
Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen says clogged fixturing created an injury spree threatening his A-League club's finals ambitions.
Coolen blamed Adelaide's schedule of five games in 17 days for a spate of injuries to key players which could cruel the second-placed Reds' run to the finals.
Star Argentinian Marcos Flores, midfielder Adam Hughes, Brazilian defender Cassio and fellow defender Nigel Boogard are nursing soft tissue leg injuries their coach directly related to the taxing schedule.
Midfielder Joe Keenan also broke a leg in Sunday night's 1-0 loss to table-topping Brisbane Roar, with coach Coolen concerned about player welfare.
"It doesn't matter who it is, which team it is, you have to be careful for players," Coolen said.
"They are professional and they train hard, so we don't have to feel sorry for them, they are professionals.
"But you need time to recover, and playing games in row like we did, in the last 17 days five games, and a lot of away games, that causes you some problems.
"It wasn't the reason we lost the game (against Brisbane), definitely not, but it could be a reason we lost some players.
"... More than likely it is everything to do with that (schedule) ... it's definitely to do with the freshness of the players from the schedule we had from the last couple of weeks."
The Dutchman said the A-League risked games diminishing in spectacle because of player fatigue.
"If you talk about problems from muscles, like Cassio, like Flores, they are top, fit players," he said.
"No one is wanting for that kind of thing, you prefer to keep your players fresh and fit to give them the best and use them for the whole season in our A-League.
"I hope everything will be okay in a couple of days but I'm not sure and that is disappointing.
"We still want to play for a couple of good positions in the league.
"We prefer to play nice football - you need all the players to do that."
Coolen, who doubted Cassio and Flores would be fit to face Melbourne Victory on Sunday, also called for the substitute bench to be expanded, saying the current three player restriction wasn't necessary.
"Hopefully they are going to change that in the future, otherwise it's a pity," he said.