GCU short up front

A depleted Gold Coast United squad welcomes back three key defenders this week, but are looking light up front with Joel Porter and Tahj Minniecon likely to be ruled out for Saturday’s 'Clash of the Coasts' against the Central Coast Mariners at Skilled Park.

A depleted Gold Coast United squad welcomes back three key defenders this week, but are looking light up front with Joel Porter and Tahj Minniecon likely to be ruled out for Saturday-s 'Clash of the Coasts' against the Central Coast Mariners at Skilled Park.

Kristian Rees, Bas Van Den Brink and Steve Pantelidis all return from suspension to give United-s rearguard a welcome boost, but the striking potency of the squad has been hit hard with Shane Smeltz the only regular starting striker still available.

Brazilian forward Milson could be in contention if he can complete his recovery from a thigh strain and Andrew Barisic is also in the mix.

Miron Bleiberg-s other options include Youth Team attackers Golgol Mebrahtu and free-scoring Chris Harold, who bagged another double in the 5-0 NYL drubbing of Melbourne Victory Youth last Sunday.

Porter suffered a heavy challenge during the game against Melbourne, landing awkwardly on his lower leg and twisting two knee ligaments.

Gold Coast United physiotherapist, Dave Battersby, said the injury should resolve itself in less than three weeks and wouldn-t be an ongoing issue for Porter.

"Depending on how he presents early next week, Joel should be okay to return in a couple of weeks," said Battersby.

"These types of injuries are fairly commonplace in football, and he (Porter) will make a full recovery."

Minniecon-s thigh strain should only be a minor setback for the player too, with Battersby expecting the players to be fully fit for next week-s clash against the Newcastle Jets.

"Tahj would nearly be right to take away with the team now but we can-t risk depleting our squad further," said Battersby.

Experienced midfielder Steve Fitzsimmons sustained a dislocated and fractured finger during the loss to Melbourne, but will be available to play, albeit with his finger in a special brace to prevent further injury.