Western United will kick off the 2020-21 A-League season against Adelaide United but will have to do so without Socceroos defender Josh Risdon.
Injuries have hit Western United ahead of their A-League season opener against Adelaide United, with Socceroos defender Josh Risdon to miss up to 10 weeks with a tibia injury.
Risdon was left out of United's squad for Monday night's game at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium, with the club later confirming he had developed a tibial stress fracture (non-traumatic) mid-way through pre-season.
The 28-year-old, Australia's right-back at the 2018 World Cup, enjoyed a superb first season at United and is a big loss to Mark Rudan's side.
Risdon is likely to be replaced by young wing-back Dylan Pierias.
Midfielder Sebastian Pasquali is out for six weeks with a hip injury while Brendan Hamill (adductor) and Luke Duzel (hamstring) will miss the opening game.
Attacking midfielder Max Burgess, who had reportedly been seeking a move away from United despite being contracted for the current season, is not injured but has been listed as "unavailable".
In their second campaign, United are out to build on their 2019-20 semi-final appearance, having bolstered their squad by signing Spanish midfielder Victor Sanchez and former Melbourne City winger Lachie Wales.
The Reds, who were excellent in the season restart in the NSW hub, are seeking a return to finals football under Carl Veart.
They will unleash fringe Socceroos striker Tomi Juric, though Spanish signing Javi Lopez may have to wait for his debut.
"Tomi will definitely take part. He's looked really sharp this week on the training track," Veart said.
"Javi we're not too sure yet. He's still a little bit underdone and we don't want to rush him."
Adelaide recently lost playmaker James Troisi to Western Sydney but otherwise, Veart has close to a full squad to choose from.
Young gun Al Hassan Toure (ankle) and Ryan Kitto (groin) are injured.
Meanwhile Veart confirmed former Western United goalkeeper James Delianov will debut for the Reds.
STATS THAT MATTER
* Western United and Adelaide United have only played twice, with the away team winning each time - while there were 13 goals scored across the two games
* Adelaide haven't won in round one since 2014-15. with five draws and one loss in their past five season-openers
* Western United won their past three games at GMHBA Stadium last season, scoring 12 goals to their opponents' three.
Stats provided by Opta