But who should come in as injury replacement? Should it be a foreign player? Should Sydney just promote from within? Winger or striker?
OPTION 1 - INJURY REPLACEMENT
Sydney have utilised the injury replacement spot quite a lot over the years, and with the absence of Andrew Clarke as Head of Conditioning, it's hard to not see them use more.
I've gone through available free agents, and my own "knowledge" to find potential injury replacement candidates. It is to be noted that the replacement player is on the same wages as the player they are standing in for. My guess of Buhagiar's wage is just above the minimum salary ($50,000).
These, in my opinion are the best possible options to replace him.
My criteria is:
* Must play as RW, and bonus if competent at striker
* Pacy, slightly headless chicken
* Played in Asia or Europe
* Tahj Minniecon - A-League experience, free agent since beginning of 2018, plays RW.
* Adam Parkhouse - A-League experience, free agent since end of last season. Plays RW, LW, and RB.
Those two are in my opinion the only ones that would possibly be signed of the free-agent Australians out there. Not exactly enticing.
I decided in particular to look to Japan for targets, with Steve Corica having played close to 50 times for J.League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and assistant Ufuk Talay playing for Avispa Fukuoka. With the J.League running opposite to our season for the most part, I think some of the J.League players listed would be interested in a loan. Whilst I highly doubt any of these would happen, I think the club would be smart to scour the Japanese leagues for players.
Stats are all acquired from transfermarkt.com and potentially outdated.
Miyake is a 21 year old Japanese right winger, currently in the Fortuna Dusseldorf reserve team. He is unlikely to feature in the senior team anytime soon, and is a natural at right wing, with pace. Already in the 2018/19 Regionalliga West (German 4th tier) he has 5 goals, and 1 assist from 11 appearances. A bit outside the box, but would work for the Asian Champions League, and at 21 would likely not demand high wages.
Currently at Vissel Kobe, alongside Barcelona legend Andreas Iniesta, he is struggling for game time. 7 appearances, and 1 goal for them in the J.League, and 5 appearances in the J.League Cup. Natural at right wing, as well as strong on the left wing, and as an attacking midfielder.
The nearly 29 year old right winger Tanaka, has made 13 J2.League appearances this season for Mito Hollyhock. 2 goals, and 1 assist from these appearances.
24 appearances in the J2.League this season for the 25 year old winger, bagging 3 assists. He can also play as a second striker, and left winger - which would be useful for cutting inside on the wings.
These are the four foreign players I think could do the job well. 3/4 of them have expiring contracts at the end of the calendar year and may be keen to try something new. I'd very much like to see Sydney utilise their +1 spot for the Asian Champions League campaign - which could be a major drawcard to these players.
OPTION 2 - FROM WITHIN
Maybe just don't bother with it? What are our youth prospects like? Maybe a tactical reshuffle? Sydney are playing a 4-4-2 this season and I don't think they'll change that just yet. It would be an advantage to use players already at the club, especially as they'd know the system already. Foreign players take time to adapt to the physicality of the A-League and the tough pitches we play on.
Personally, I think Brosque isn't quite up to starting at the moment. I envision him as more of an impact sub at this stage in his career. But I'd gladly let him prove me wrong.
The young gun scored goals for fun back in his NPL days. But after receiving a hamstring injury late in the 2017/18 pre-season, he lost his mojo. I believe Charlie is a potentially great player, with strength and an eye for goal which has been rare amongst our youth strikers. Most importantly to the current system - he has explosive pace. Not on the same level as Buhagiar, but definitely some to be used.
He definitely helped changed the game in his appearance against Jets last season, helping the lads to claw back a 2-2 draw from being 2-1 down late on. Against Avondale, he suited the gameplay very well - classic big man, little man striking combo with le Fondre. I believe in the lad, and hope he starts some games.
Having only made his debut in a 5 minute cameo in the FFA Cup semi-final, Cameron Devlin represents arguably the last option in Corica's mind about the set-up. The Jannali youngster played nearly every game in Sydney's NPL campaign, and has the pace and ability to cut it in the league - but probably needs time to be eased into it.
In summary, there are options both within, and outside of the club. I personally think we must utilise that injury replacement spot, and if possible - get an Asian player in that spot. I'm still gutted for Trent that he picked up such a nasty injury after a brilliant pre-season. I believe he will be back stronger than ever.
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