Herbert expects Lindsay to cover Muscat

Wellington Phoenix look set to be without Manny Muscat for their match against Melbourne Heart on Sunday.

Wellington Phoenix look set to be without Manny Muscat for their match against Melbourne Heart on Sunday.

Muscat, who scored his first Hyundai A-League goal in the 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets, travelled to Melbourne following the match to be with his wife Rebecca who is expecting their first child.

With no sign of baby just yet and obvious right-back replacement Vinnie Lia struggling with a knee injury, coach Ricki Herbert is considering handing the versatile Cameron Lindsay his A-League debut.

Lia has bone bruising and did not train with the squad on Thursday. "I'm not really sure about the weekend for him," said Herbert.

"He's not done a lot today but we are going to put him under the microscope a bit tomorrow."

Lindsay has sat on the bench for a handful of matches this season without getting on the pitch. But Herbert said he had no qualms about throwing the 19-year-old in against the Heart.

"At the end of the day you go with your gut feeling," said Herbert.

"He's done a good job and has worked hard in training. Opportunities have been pretty scarce for him but I think if he gets a shot he gets it.

"I think he'll roll his sleeves up. He won't let us down and if he does it won't be for the want of trying.

"If we have to make that decision (to start him) I'm quite happy to make it and give him a go.

"We all started off somewhere and some stage in some competition. If it's on Sunday, in a big game, I think he'll relish it."

Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante said the teenager would get plenty of support from himself and centre-back partner Ben Sigmund if he was thrust into the right-back role.

"It's sink or swim really. It would be a big game for him, a big occasion. But he's a very good player," said Durante, who has a sore quad and missed Thursday's training but expects to play on Sunday.

"Technically he's very good and he's got a lot of aggression so he can play that defensive role.

"If Ricki decides to throw him in he's got full support. The boys will help him. He'll be playing next to Siggy so he'll be well protected. It could be good for him."

Nick Ward is another nursing a niggle. He is still experiencing some pain in his ankle after being a surprising starter in the wins against Gold Coast United and the Jets.

Herbert had indicated the midfielder would not travel to Australia because of a small tear in his ankle but Lia's absence forced a rethink.

Ward could however be rested for Sunday's game. "We are just nursing him a little bit," admitted Herbert.

"There is still a bit of pain there. If we need to rest him then Leo (Bertos) certainly is a good shot to come in."