Marcelo Carrusca is unlikely to play for Adelaide United before the Asian Cup break but in a relief for the Reds has been cleared of a serious groin injury.
The Argentine limped off in the second half of the Reds’ Boxing Day 3-0 win over Sydney FC, with fears he had done serious damage to his groin.
Gombau was fearing the worst post-match, declaring his star playmaker “doesn’t look well”.
But scans cleared Carrusca of a serious injury, meaning he could recover in time to face league-leaders Perth Glory on January 5 but will definitely miss out against the in-form Phoenix on New Year’s Eve,
“He has a little injury in his groin and he can’t play tomorrow, maybe in one-two weeks, we will see if he can play next game,” Gombau told reporters on Tuesday.
“If he can play in Perth it’s better…but we don’t want to risk him.”
Carrusca is one of four players the Reds will be missing for the clash with Phoenix at Coopers Stadium.
Defenders Tarek Elrich and Nigel Boogaard through suspension after both received their fifth yellow card of the season against Sydney, while skipper Eugene Galekovic is in camp with the Socceroos ahead of the Asian Cup.
“You’d be lying to say four enforced changes wouldn’t upset your side but it’s something we have to deal with and will be a test of character for us,” defender Dylan McGowan said.
“Wellington is playing extremely well at the moment so it will be a test and something we’re looking forward too.
“Their (Phoenix) away form has taken a few people by surprise. They have got a real attacking threat and it’s something we are going to have to look out for.”
Untried teenager Ben Warland could be in line for his Hyundai A-League debut to cover for Boogaard in defence.
The 17-year-old has impressed in the Foxtel National Youth League and may be thrown in by Gombau just a day short of his 18th birthday.
The versatile Cameron Watson in another option to slot in at centre-back.
Phoenix will leapfrog Adelaide into third spot if they can pull off an upset victory to end 2014.