Sydney FC face a nervous wait on the fitness of captain Alex Wilkinson after he failed to finish their A-League Men season opener.
The Sky Blues began life at their newly rebuilt Allianz Stadium in promising fashion on Saturday night despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to Melbourne Victory.
There were plenty of encouraging signs for Steve Corica’s men in the final third but the injury to skipper Wilkinson, who did not return after the half-time break, will be of concern.
Wilkinson, 38, was seen icing his groin after the loss, and with fellow centre-back option Jack Rodwell also sidelined with an adductor issue, Sydney’s defensive depth is already being tested, just one game into the season.
“We’ll see how he [Wilkinson] pulls up,” Corica said. “He’s been training with just a little bit of pain in there. Jack felt his adductor in one of the set-pieces at training.
“We’ll see about Wilks, I’m not sure if he’ll be out next week. But if he’s coming off, it’s [serious] – otherwise he probably would have stayed on.”
Sydney played with a newfound attacking flair after undergoing an off-season revamp by bringing in exciting imports Robert Mak and Joe Lolley to spearhead their efforts in the final third.
There was one sour point to their return to Allianz Stadium, when a section of fans threw projectiles towards Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo as he sought to slow down play.
“We wanted the game to continue but there wasn’t long left,” Corica said. “They [Victory] just slowed everything down, but that’s obviously seeing the game out.
“They did it quite well but we don’t want bottles on the field.”
Corica, whose side face reigning champions Western United next Sunday, said he was encouraged by the return of midfielder Luke Brattan after a lengthy lay-off for an ACL injury.
“He wasn’t supposed to play that long but he continued quite well,” Corica said. “I thought he grew into the game more and more. It’s great to have him back.
“He plays good passes forward, defended quite well. He’s only going to get better as his first game is a full 90 minutes. He makes a lot of plays for us and we are obviously happy to have him back.”