Star signing Adam Taggart is in doubt for Perth Glory’s trip to New Zealand to face the in-form Wellington Phoenix as they look to stretch their unbeaten run to five games.
Already facing one of the longest away trips in world sport, the Glory could be without their freshly signed striker a week after his match-winning cameo off the bench against Melbourne Victory.
In a further blow, Perth could also be without the services of fan favourite Salim Khelifi for an extended spell after he limped off during 3-1 win over Melbourne last Saturday.
Taggart was held back from beginning his third stint at his hometown club after suffering a minor quad strain, before scoring two goals off the bench late to help Perth beat the Victory in his return game.
Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich said they would be cautious with Taggart, who did not train on Wednesday but is expected to take to the track on Thursday in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of the weekend.
“He had a slight strain which we were trying to manage before that game. It’s flared up a little bit, it’s not too bad, it’s just something we need to manage,” he said.
“We’ll take the long term view that if it’s no good, then he won’t travel.”
Khelifi, who had just returned from a groin complaint, will miss the Wellington game with a foot injury and Zadkovich said the Tunisian could be out for several weeks.
“His injury is being looked at, at this stage. It’s looking like it’s a serious injury – for me he’s been probably our stand-out player consistently,” Zadkovich said.
“Jack Clisby being suspended, Adam Taggart’s quad…it’s one of those weeks where we are certainly disappointed to be losing a couple of quality players and we’ll be a little bit weaker on that side, but I am very keen to back in young players.”
New signing Jordan Elsey could make his debut for Perth, who have moved to seventh on the ladder, and a win over Wellington would see them draw level with the fourth-placed Phoenix.
“They’re probably the form team in the competition at the moment off the back of three wins, but I also note that they’ve only won three out of eight at home, so there’s opportunity there,” Zadkovich said.