Heart coach John Aloisi has left injured captain Fred out of the squad to play the Western Sydney , while Dylan Macallister and Matt Thompson have been picked.
Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi has left injured captain Fred out of their squad to play the Western Sydney Wanderers, while Dylan Macallister and Matt Thompson have been picked.
Fred (hamstring), Thompson (corked thigh) and Macallister (bruised ribs) all suffered injuries in Heart's 1-0 defeat at home to the Central Coast Mariners last Sunday but the latter two have proved their fitness in time for Friday night's game at Parramatta Stadium.
While Aloisi has yet to decide on a replacement in the starting line-up for Fred, he indicated Thompson and Macallister will start, while Mate Dugandzic will replace winger Ben Garuccio, who is away with the Young Socceroos.
"Fred's out for sure, so we're going to have to bring in someone to replace him," Aloisi said on Thursday.
"That'll be out of (Jason) Hoffman or Nicky Kalmar and other than that, Mate (Dugandzic) will come back for Ben Garuccio."
Garuccio and David Vrankovic will both be unavailable for at least the next two Hyundai A-League matches and possibly a third as the Young Socceroos compete in the AFC Under-19 Championship.
The loss of the two youngsters, as well as Fred's injury, means Aloisi has been forced to change his starting line-up for the fourth-straight week.
"We have to rotate the squad a little bit again but that's why we've got a squad because everyone is there, they're going to get their opportunity to play and hopefully, the ones who do step in, do well and make it hard for the ones who are out," Aloisi said.
Speaking at Melbourne Airport as the Heart prepared to fly to Sydney, Aloisi said the Wanderers' central defensive pairing of Michael Beauchamp and Nikolai Topor-Stanley had been instrumental in seeing the club concede just two goals in four games in their inaugural season.
"The two boys at the back have been very solid, Beauchamp and Topor-Stanley," Aloisi said.
"They make it difficult for opposition strikers to get a sniff in the game."
Aloisi's side have averaged only one goal per game but despite the Wanderers' impressive defence, Heart defender Simon Colosimo is confident his team can score on Friday.
"(In our) two home games, both Wellington and Central Coast sat off a fair bit, which slowed the game down a little bit," Colosimo said.
"They got tight in defence and defended really deep.
"I think Western Sydney will come out and have a go at us.
"They're at home, they've come off a win, so I'm expecting them to have a go and I'm expecting it to be a really exciting game."