Van Dijk in doubt

Adelaide United have been dealt another blow ahead of Friday night's clash against Melbourne Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium with striker Sergio van Dijk doubtful after taking a knock to his calf at training on Wednesday.

Adelaide United have been dealt another blow ahead of Friday night's clash against Melbourne Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium with striker Sergio van Dijk doubtful after taking a knock to his calf at training on Wednesday.

United lost central defender Nigel Boogaard in the lead up to last week's match against Central Coast Mariners and the stopper will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks with a serious ankle injury.

Captain Travis Dodd was already out of action and won't return for at least six weeks after groin surgery in the offseason, while Robert Cornthwaite (groin) and Fabian Barbiero (ankle) are also on the injured list.

Van Dijk wasn't on the track for Thursday's session and if he were to miss Friday night's match, it would mean the Reds would be without a recognised and proven goal scorer.

Lloyd Owusu is unavailable, recovering from knee surgery, leaving dual National Youth League Golden Boot winner, Francesco Monterrosso, as United's only recognised striker.

Reds' boss Rini Coolen admitted van Dijk will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness with the ex Brisbane Roar striker expected complete the pre-match warm up to determine if he is fit enough to start against the Heart.

"Yeah he took a kick on his leg yesterday and we didn't take the risk today. We took the decision not to train him," Coolen said.

"I think we'll be fine tomorrow. I'm 100 percent sure he'll do the warm up tomorrow, so I think he can play. If not then we're going to have to make another decision, but I think he's a good chance for tomorrow (night)."

"I don-t think it will be a problem for tomorrow. I don-t want to take the risk, you have to be 100 percent fit, if he's not then he won't play for us. We have to make sure he's 100 percent fit, if not I'd prefer to play with someone else and not take the risk with his injury."

Coolen admitted he is toying with the idea of rushing back Cornthwaite who missed all of pre-season battling a groin injury.

The Dutchman conceded the towering defender at the very least would fill the quota on the bench and make a cameo appearance if need be.

"I'll have to make a decision and maybe Robbie Cornthwaite is going to be on the bench," he said.

"There's no reason for that. I just prefer to get him into our squad as soon as possible and he will join our team and he will be there tomorrow. And, if Sergio can't play he's on the bench, he could play a couple of minutes. But if Sergio is fit then he can play and Cornthwaite will sit on the bench."

Daniel Mullen partnered Ian Fyfe in the centre of defence against the Mariners last week with midfielder, Adam Hughes slipping into Mullen's usual position of right full-back.

With Hughes receiving two yellow cards against Central Coast and suspended for the Melbourne Heart match, Coolen said he is likely to play short-term signing Cameron Watson at right-back.

"We trained with Watson there," he said.

He hasn't had much opportunity but he played well last week. I don-t think that will matter though. He's done a lot of training this week and in that position so Watson is going to start there."

Coolen also admitted that United are looking to have Baby Reds' captain Matthew Mullen available for Friday night's match after a stellar season with Adelaide Super League side, Para Hills.

"We have to find our 15th player and I took the decision to go with a local player," he said.

"Matthew Mullen is the captain from our Youth Team so that is my first choice. We also have to find out if we can get him tomorrow, if he's available and allowed to play. If not, we'll have to find another solution."