Kevin Muscat says Melbourne Victory will consider signing an injury replacement if goalkeeper Nathan Coe is ruled out for the rest of the Hyundai A-League season.
The first-choice custodian was forced off in the 3-0 Round 24 win away to Wellington Phoenix due to back tightness and then missed the 1-0 loss at home to the Newcastle Jets on Friday.
WRAP: Melbourne Victory 0 Newcastle Jets 1
The 30-year-old shot-stopper has undergone scans on the problem area and is consulting with specialists on Tuesday, but has already been ruled out of the successive matches away to Brisbane Roar FC on Wednesday and Saturday this week.
Asked how the three-cap Socceroo is faring, Muscat said: “Not great.”
Quizzed on the exact nature of the mystery problem, the head coach added: “I’d rather not go into too much detail at this point. He obviously stiffened up from his back and that’s causing him some issues.
“There’s some other issues that are going on now that his back’s freed up a bit and we really want to get to the bottom of it.
“'Coey' will go and see a specialist today and hopefully we’ll get a positive outcome. He won’t travel to Brisbane."
As for the prospect of Coe returning to action this season, the coach said: “I’m always glass half-full, I’m hoping that we get some positive news. At this point in time we’re planning without him. It’s come up on us at possibly the wrong time.
“First and foremost we’ll worry about the health of the individual. We certainly hope Coey gets some good news today. Then we’ll worry about the team as a secondary [issue].”
The 23-year-old Lawrence Thomas, who has 11 A-League appearances to his name across four seasons, took over on Friday and did little wrong despite being beaten for Edson Montano’s winner at AAMI Park last weekend.
“He’s had to wait and bide his time,” Muscat said of the understudy.
“We’ve seen him mature over the time he’s been here and I’ve got every confidence in him.”
However, with the finals approaching and untested youngster Lucas Spinella next in line for a vital position, Muscat did confirm the club will consider sourcing an injury replacement should Coe be ruled out.
“It’s something we’ll have to look into,” he said.
“This stage of the season though … let’s wait and see what the outcome of today is and have a good think about it then.”