Wellington Phoenix striker David Ball won’t feature in Wednesday’s Australia Cup match against Devonport City Strikers in Tasmania.
Coach Ufuk Talay has confirmed that while Ball has been making good progress recovering from a bad toe injury, the Phoenix won’t risk him in their round of 32 cup tie.
Though Bulgarian international Bozhidar Kraev probably won’t start the game, the newly-signed attacking midfielder is expected to come off the bench for his Phoenix debut, Talay told a pre-match media conference.
Talay says he expects the Striker to provide challenging opposition for the Phoenix, having played 16 competitions game already in their season, and leading the competition by 11 points.
He said the Tasmanians had some exciting players, particularly in the “top third” of their formation.
The game is scheduled for Wednesday, August 3, with kick-off at 7.30pm AEST (9.30pm NZT).
Devonport City made the round of 16 of the FFA Cup, as it was known, in 2016 and 2018 after beating NPL opposition from New South Wales and Victoria.
They play at Valley Road Ground, which normally seats 1250 supporters, but more than 3000 have attended FFA Cup matches in the past.
The Phoenix advanced beyond the round of 32 for just the second time in last season’s competition, in what was their seventh Cup participation.
They beat Western United, NPL Victoria side Avondale FC and reigning A-League champions Melbourne City before losing to eventual winners Melbourne Victory in the semi-finals.
It will be the club’s first Cup match in Tasmania, although the Nix did play Western United in Launceston last year.
This story is reproduced with the assistance of the Wellington Phoenix.