Sydney FC boss Frank Farina will turn to Nicky Carle to fill the gulf left by the injured Alessandro Del Piero in Saturday night's derby against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Sydney FC boss Frank Farina will turn to Nicky Carle to fill the huge creative gulf left by the injured Alessandro Del Piero in Saturday night's derby against Western Sydney Wanderers.
In a huge blow to the Sky Blues' hopes against their fierce rivals, Farina all but conceded his skipper won't recover from his calf injury in time to line-up at Allianz Stadium.
Del Piero failed to train with his team-mates on Thursday morning, with Farina labelling the Italian a less than "50-50" chance to come off the bench against the Wanderers.
The Sky Blues were rudderless when Del Piero was forced off early in the drubbing to Brisbane last weekend, struggling to maintain possession and create opportunities going forward.
But Farina plans to move Carle into a more advanced role against the Wanderers and hopes his combination with Richie Garcia and Joel Chianese will spark his side into action.
"I think with Nicky, Richie and Joel, we've got the ammunition there," Farina told reporters on Thursday.
"Nicky is a natural playmaker so we'll push him a little bit more forward into that natural No.10 for him.
"So hopefully a lot of that spark will come from him."
Carle has played the majority of his career as an attacking midfielder but has been deployed in a much deeper role so far this season under Farina.
The former Socceroos midfielder admits he's enjoyed his new position and expects his combination with former Newcastle Jets team-mate Matt Thompson to thrive as the season goes on.
"I love playing with Matty, we had a great combination in Newcastle," Carle said.
"He's someone who really knows how I play and he reads me.
"He's gelled straight in and it's great to have him on board.
"Wherever the coach wants me to play whether it's a six, eight or 10, I'll give it 100 percent to make it work."
Farina failed to confirm who would come into the side for the injured Del Piero, admitting Socceroos midfielder Brett Emerton was still not fully fit.
Yairo Yau is available again after international duty with Panama and will get a spot on the bench.
While the Wanderers are still searching for their first win of the season after back-to-back 1-1 draws, Farina knows his side have their work cut out to rebound from last week's embarrassing defeat to the Roar.
"They are a solid team and they've got players in there that create and give you that bit of brilliance," the Sky Blues boss said.
"It's a derby and it's going to be, not a fight, but a hotly-contested contest.
"I'm expecting a good side and a good game. Derbies are a different beast, everyone lifts."
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