Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is confident marquee man Shinji Ono will be available for Saturday's A-League clash against struggling Melbourne Heart.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is confident marquee man Shinji Ono will be available for Saturday's A-League clash against struggling Melbourne Heart.
Ono missed last weekend's scoreless draw with Wellington Phoenix due to a minor groin strain but has been named in an extended squad to play the Heart.
"He's trained since Wednesday, which is a real positive for us, and if he can get through today then I'm sure he'll be available for tomorrow," Popovic said at Pirtek Stadium on Friday.
Asked whether Ono is likely to make his return via the bench or come straight back into the starting line-up, Popovic replied: "At the moment we're open minded about that.
"He's had two consecutive days (of training) which is great. He's pulled up well this morning as the medical staff has reported and we'll see him in our last sharp session today and then we'll decide."
Jerome Polenz is also available for selection but Brendon Santalab (calf) and Tomi Juric (knee) remain sidelined.
"Santa's had a little niggle with his calf and it's not quite right to play so we'll keep him out another week," Popovic said of Santalab.
Popovic is less certain when Juric, who has been sidelined since the Wanderers' 1-0 victory over the Heart in Round 5, will be available to return.
"It's hard to say with Tomi but he's progressing very well," he said.
"Yesterday we saw him kicking the ball for the first time which is great and the medical staff's certainly on top of that and we'll get him back when he's ready, we won't force him back, we'll make sure he's 100 percent before he joins in."
Meanwhile, Popovic says livewire winger Youssouf Hersi will be better for the run after making his return from a foot injury with a brief cameo off the bench against the Phoenix.
But the coach urged Wanderers fans to be patient with the 31-year-old as he regains full fitness.
"It was good to get him some minutes, it was a long five weeks," he said.
"No one anticipated it to be that long but these things happen and he's back and training now and it was good to get some minutes under his belt and he's continued on with some good training the last few days and it'll be good to see him involved tomorrow.
"I don't think his fitness now will be up to scratch probably for another four to six weeks but you expect that when you're out for five weeks.
"It's takes time but in terms of his training he's training well, but it'll take him a bit of time to get back to where he was before the injury."