Double Dutch concern for Gold Coast

Gold Coast United are sweating on the availability of star Dutch pair Maceo Rigters and Paul Beekmans for Saturday afternoon's preliminary final rematch against Central Coast.

Gold Coast United are sweating on the availability of star Dutch pair Maceo Rigters and Paul Beekmans for Saturday afternoon's preliminary final rematch against Central Coast.

Former Blackburn Rovers striker Rigters, who couldn't play in last week's season opener against Wellington, looks likely to be held up by visa clearance issues for the second consecutive week.

"Time is ticking," said coach Miron Bleiberg, who took matters into his own hands yesterday by calling up the relevant bodies in the UK to check on the progress of the approval of a police check document, which Rigters was not told to bring with him on arrival to his new club.

Taking time differences into account, United are likely to know in the morning whether or not their highly-rated recruit will be available to make his long-awaited debut at Bluetongue Stadium.

Bleiberg assessed Rigters as a less than 50 per cent chance to play, but said any question marks over his availability over the past fortnight had not come as a distraction to the playing group.

"We've planned everything for as if he's not playing," he said.

"If you play ifs and buts it, distracts the team and the guy who will replace him. If he will play it will be a nice surprise, but if not, we are ready to go without him."

If Rigters is ruled out again, Bleiberg said it would open the door for the likes of youngsters Ben Halloran and James Brown to build on their impressive opening round performances against the Phoenix.

Of less concern is an injury to midfield lynchpin Beekmans, who looks set to play despite complaining of ankle soreness in recent days.

Bleiberg said that the towering Dutchman was taking some time to get used to the harder surfaces in Australia.

"They're coming from a winter game in Europe which means soft grounds. In Australia, it's summer and it's hard," he said.

"It's like when you take your car from the Gold Coast Highway to driving up and down Mt. Tamborine all day - the shock absorbers will not react the same."

"Peter Jungschlager had the same problem after one month and we eased him into it and got him over it slowly."

"We'll do the same with Paul, let him take it easy at training, massage him until his body adjusts. It's not a long-term injury."

Reliable centre-half Kristian Rees - who is nearing full fitness after recovering off-season knee surgery - will travel to Bluetongue Stadium as cover, with captain Michael Thwaite likely to slot into midfield if Beekmans cannot front up against the Mariners.