Sibon setback for Heart

Melbourne Heart's faltering campaign has taken another turn for the worse with playmaker Gerald Sibon likely to be missing until the new year after picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 derby loss to the Victory.

Melbourne Heart's faltering campaign has taken another turn for the worse with playmaker Gerald Sibon likely to be missing until the new year after picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 derby loss to the Victory.

Sibon scored one of the best goals of the season in the 18th minute of the match to pull his team level with a wickedly bending free kick which curled into the bottom corner. It broke a run of 546 minutes without a goal for the Heart, but failed to stem a streak without a win which has stretched to seven matches.

To compound the loss, the 36-year-old Dutchman failed to return after half time with a hamstring injury, leaving Heart with only one fit recognised striker, John Aloisi, with Alex Terra and Eli Babalj also currently sidelined.

"He has a muscle injury," coach John van 't Schip said. "At this moment, we need every player available and Gerald is a player who can do something special up front like today."

Van 't Schip backed Nick Kalmar to fill the gap in behind the front three in Sibon's absence, but given Sibon has spent a lot of time up front as well this season, his absence will be felt there as well.

"If we miss him, we have to get in another player. I think Nick Kalmar is doing well in that position. If it stays like that, Nick will be the normal replacement," he said.

"We've got John up front, and he's a different type of player. We've got Rutger, who is creative winger and Adrian on the other side."

"We need a type like Alex who can work in those little spaces and he showed that the games he played. But he's injured, so is Eli. We know we have a little bit of problem up front. John is doing what he can do, but it is not easy."

Van 't Schip refuses to blame the injuries to so many of the Heart's attacking players for the fact the club has scored just one goal in six games.

"We're playing good enough football. It's only just a question of getting the ball over the line. It's all very close, it's just that it's now been a few games in a row and that's not a good thing for the confidence and the belief," he said.

Captain Simon Colosimo said that while there was a palpable sense of disappointment among the players after the loss, the belief was still there and the mood in the dressing room was still positive.

"I don't think there's a concern about the way we are playing the game. It's more about not giving away cheaper goals and trying to hit the bar and go in, rather than go out," he said.