Carlos unlikely for Fury

Melbourne's midfield injury curse has continued with playmaker Carlos Hernandez unlikely to take on North Queensland in Townsville on Sunday after picking up an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw with Sydney last week.

Melbourne's midfield injury curse has continued with playmaker Carlos Hernandez unlikely to take on North Queensland in Townsville on Sunday after picking up an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw with Sydney last week.

Hernandez has been one of Melbourne's most influential players this year, scoring seven goals and setting up plenty of others in what has been a break-out season for the Costa Rican. But he received a knock late in the Sydney game and on top of the soreness he was already feeling, the club in unlikely to risk a trip to Townsville.

"There's a good chance Carlos will be unavailable. He got another knock on the same ankle and it-s pretty swollen up. So he's 70-30 against him playing," coach Ernie Merrick said. "I'm pretty sure he won't be available. If he's not good enough to start, he won't be taken."

"I think it's a bit of a curse, every midfielder that we've got, is either out or injured. I think there is a possibility of seven first team players out this weekend."

Leigh Broxham also misses this match through suspension, while Evan Berger, Billy Celeski and Surat Sukha are all injured and Marvin Angulo is awaiting registration.

Broxham's unavailability had hastened the returned of Grant Brebner, who injured his ankle against Gold Coast four weeks ago. It was initially thought the Scottish veteran would be out for at least six weeks, but he has made strong progress despite coming off from Wednesday's training session with an ice pack on his injury.

"From the squad, Leigh's out suspended, Grant Brebner will come in, but he'll be a bench player. He's certainly got at least half game in him and he's looking really good and he's been training really hard. That was one positive, having another senior experienced player in there. But he won't start."

"The medical team have just done a great job with him, he's come on in leaps and bounds and as you can see from that, he's looking good and sharp."

While Sutee Suksomkit, who will be making his final appearance for the club, is likely to come in to replace Hernandez in the starting XI, a replacement for Broxham is harder to find.

All of Merrick's usual options are either unavailable or unfit, which means he could be forced to use youngster Matthew Foschini in an unfamiliar role.

"He's been playing so well Matty. He's certainly put his hand up for a good chance to start there, but we won't finalise the line-up until the last minute. The youngsters know they are in with a chance."

Football Superstar winner Luke Pilkington is a chance to come into the squad as well, with Diogo Ferreira and Aziz Behich the other Youth League players given an indication they could be set for promotion.

Meanwhile, Merrick praised the contribution of Suksomkit during his eight-match spell with the club and said he deserved a start in Sunday's match as a means of farewell.

"The rules for the ACL means that our quota is fulfilled. We're certainly going to keep an eye on him. Being an attacking midfielder, we-ve got quite a few, he's very good player, he's also terrific person and he's been a great addition to the team," he said.