Carle blow for Sydney

Sydney FC have been hit with a serious blow on the eve of their crucial AFC Champions League clash with Kashima Antlers on Wednesday night with midfielder Nicky Carle ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Sydney FC have been hit with a serious blow on the eve of their crucial AFC Champions League clash with Kashima Antlers on Wednesday night with midfielder Nicky Carle ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Carle strained his hamstring late in last Wednesday's 1-1 draw with China's Shanghai Shenhua at the SFS.

Carle, who scored the Sky Blues' equaliser on the night, finished the match but hasn't responded well enough to treatment to take his place against Kashima.

It's a cruel blow for Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka whose side are desperate for a win after drawing their first two ACL games at home and with their last three fixtures all overseas.

"It's trouble for Nicky and it's trouble for us," Lavicka said on Monday.

"He will be out hopefully for only the next game, but we have to solve it."

"We have several options how we can replace him."

"But it's difficult to replace the marquee player because Nicky especially in the last games of this season has shown his quality and he is an important part, especially when we are attacking."

"We have to replace him but we have players who are younger than him and less experienced."

Sydney are already without skipper Terry McFlynn who is suspended and it's understood there are a couple more players in doubt for the match although Lavicka was giving little away

"That's only for tactical reasons, the Japanese team is here in Sydney, so they save their team, we would like to save our team," he said.

The winner of Wednesday's match will take second spot in the group at the halfway point of the group stage, with the top two sides to progress to the knockout phase.