Injury-ravaged Adelaide United could again turn to a 15-year-old talent when they face struggling Central Coast Mariners on Friday night.
Mohamed Toure became the A-League’s third-youngest debutant last weekend in a superb performance off the bench in Brisbane, and since earned his first professional contract with a three-year deal at the Reds.
Now coach Gertjan Verbeek could hand Toure more minutes as he seeks to cope with a brutal injury crisis.
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Toure’s older brother Al Hassan, 19, is out of the rest of the season with a stress fracture (foot). Nathan Konstandopoulos (ruptured anterior cruciate ligament) is another long-term out, while James Troisi (quad) might not return for another month.
They’re joined by Ryan Strain (hamstring), Ryan Kitto (thigh) and Michael Marrone (abdominal) – three right-backs injured in the last week. Fringe duo Pacifique Niyongabire (adductor) and keeper Isaac Richards (knee) are also out.
“We have our problems,” Verbeek told reporters on Thursday.
“But I think still we have a team that can beat Central Coast – but they have to believe in it, they have to work hard.”
Striker George Blackwood returns from a calf issue, while Verbeek has promoted novice duo Yared Abetew and Noah Smith, two youngsters who have featured in one league game each but have been sidelined with injuries for most of this season.
Adelaide United (5th) v Central Coast Mariners (10th)
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-off 7.30pm AEDT, Friday 14 February
LIVE on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm AEDT
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