Star striker Oskar Zawada could be sidelined for up to four weeks by a groin injury, Wellington Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano has revealed.
Zawada (28) was to have scans on Monday but Italiano says he’ll miss the top-of-the-table Waitangi Day match against Central Coast Mariners at Sky Stadium.
Italiano said the problem for Zawada began during the warm-up for Friday’s 1-1 draw against the Brisbane Roar.
“He picked up an aggravation [in] his groin. I don’t expect to see Oz now maybe for at least three weeks, maybe even four weeks,” Italiano told a media briefing.
“This is not the first time something like this has happened, and you know he’s a big player for us, but the rest of the squad will pick up the shortfall, and, you know, they’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again.
“I think the best case scenario [is he] will be back on [his] feet within two or three weeks
“He was disappointed. He was gutted at the end of the game, so I think what happened was he felt it when he came on.”
Zawada had returned to the matchday squad only two games ago, after being out for six weeks with a thigh injury. He scored off the bench in his return to action.
For the Waitangi Day match, the Phoenix will be without midfielder Nicholas Pennington (suspended) and wing back Sam Sutton (injured), while midfielder Mohamed Al-Taay and forward Ben Old are likely to be used sparingly while injuries are being managed.
Game to be played on Tuesday February 6, 2024
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 4pm (NZT)