Saturday, 2 November 2013 9:43 AM
Sydney FC coach Frank Farina said he is prepared to risk playing injured superstar Alessandro Del Piero against Perth on Saturday in a desperate bid to get the Sky Blues’ A-League season back on track.
The 38-year-old is still recovering from a calf injury suffered in the 4-0 loss to Brisbane Roar two weeks ago.
Speaking before training on Friday morning, Farina rated the Italian maestro only a 60 to 70 percent chance of playing in the Round 4 clash but confirmed the skipper will still fly to Perth with the squad on Friday afternoon.
“Alessandro will train with us this morning and we’ll assess that at the end of today and when we get over there, but we’ll give him every chance to play or take part,” Farina said.
“I’d say at this stage (he is a) 60 percent or 70 percent (chance of playing).
Asked if he is tempted to err on the side of caution and rest Del Piero, Farina replied: “There is that temptation but we’re in a situation now where we’re fighting for points like everyone else so I want the best available, and if he’s available to do a job for us I’ll use him.”
The Sky Blues opened the season with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle, with Del Piero playing a starring role.
But things have headed south in a hurry for the Sky Blues ever since the veteran limped from the field in the 32nd minute against the Roar.
They conceded four unanswered goals following his departure in Brisbane and suffered a 2-0 defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers last Saturday without their marquee man to drop to seventh on the A-League ladder.
Farina would not be drawn on whether he will start Del Piero off the bench if he does return.
“Well again we’ll see, we’ll see how he is. It’s a 230 kick-off so it’s going to be extremely warm over there so we’ll decide that on Saturday,” he said.
Meanwhile, Farina confirmed veteran Brett Emerton is a certain starter after overcoming a back injury.
The 34-year-old suffered back spasms on the eve of the season opener but will be rushed into the starting line-up against the Glory.
Emerton admitted he will have to manage his troublesome back throughout the season but is confident he is on top of the problem.
“It’s complicated, I won’t go into (specifics of the injury) but it’s a disappointing start to the season for me to miss the first two games because up until then I was feeling good during pre-season,” Emerton said.
“So bad timing I suppose but I’m feeling good now, almost back to 100 percent so looking forward to hopefully taking part on Saturday and putting in a good performance.
“It’s something that over the past couple of seasons I’ve had to deal with.
“It’s all about management, when you get a little bit older you need to manage yourself during the week but I think we know how to take care of this situation and hopefully it won’t cause me too many more problems.”