Terra out, Aloisi in doubt

Melbourne Heart are likely to go into Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast United at AAMI Park without key attacking duo Alex Terra and John Aloisi.

Melbourne Heart are likely to go into Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast United at AAMI Park without key attacking duo Alex Terra and John Aloisi.

Brazilian Terra is certain to miss after re-injuring his calf in last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Wellington, with the injury expected to sideline him for multiple weeks, while Aloisi faces a late fitness test.

“There will be changes because there are some injury concerns,” coach John van ‘t Schip said. “We still have to have a few thoughts before we step onto the field tomorrow.”

“Alex is out. He was already having problems last week. He had a solid few weeks, which was good, but when he started training after the Victory game, he had to step out. We took him with us to Wellington and he passed a fitness test, but he felt it again late in the game.”

“He’s out for at least now and maybe longer. We have to assess him next week and see how things work out.”

Aloisi, Heart’s leading goalscorer this year with three goals, is a major doubt with knee soreness but will be given until match morning to prove he is fit.

“There’s a strong doubt about John. He’s had some problems so we have to have a good look at that tomorrow morning. He has hardly trained and we know John’s history with injuries,” the coach said.

“He’s done well the last few games, but my philosophy is that if you are not 100 per cent fit then you need a solid run of training sessions to prove you are fine. John only trained two half sessions this week, so we will have to see how he feels,” he said.

Those injuries, plus the absence of Gerald Sibon through suspension, mean Heart are likely to be without three of their most important attacking players for the match.

However, it could open the door for Eli Babalj, who was been with the Young Socceroos in China, to come straight back into the starting line-up.

“Eli is back and if you look in our squad, we have three strikers, John, Gerald and Eli and it could be a thought to play Eli. With John injured and Gerald suspended, Eli is our next option. He’s a young player, a promising player who has come in a few times already,” Van ‘t Schip said.

“He’s done well some times, other times he has had problems but I think he’s adjusting well. He had a disappointment himself over in China, not playing. He is a logical replacement but sometimes we have to look at it differently.”

Captain Simon Colosimo admitted that the run of injuries to senior players at the club, such as Aloisi, was making it hard to find a rhythm, but that the depth of the squad has stood up over the past few weeks.

“We were forced into changes before the Victory game and we played our best game of the season. Sibon and Behich were suspended on the weekend and we put on a really good performance away,” Colosimo said.

“It-s a little bit frustrating as individuals because guys like John want to keep playing week-in, week-out but in terms of picking your team, that’s the nature of playing elite sport. We know that with the squad we have, it-s not 11 players, it-s 22 players.”