Sydney FC's attacking depth is set for an immediate test with Daniel De Silva to join fellow recruit Trent Buhagiar on the sidelines for Friday night's A-League season opener against Adelaide United.
De Silva, who linked up with the Sky Blues on loan from Central Coast, has had an interrupted pre-season after injuring his hamstring several weeks ago.
Temporary setback: Daniel De Silva is in line for a return in round two.Credit:AAP
The 21-year-old was thought to be ready for Sydney's FFA Cup semi-final but was not used against Western Sydney and won't be risked against the Reds, coach Steve Corica confirmed.
There are no guarantees he will be ready for next weekend's derby at the SCG either.
"[De Silva is] maybe not ready for this week, but very close for the one after," Corica said at the club's season launch function at The Star on Wednesday.
"I'm looking forward to having him back. He's a quality player, a young talent as well, very exciting.
"We want him fit and ready to go, especially with the cup [final] coming up as well."
De Silva's absence comes after a cruel injury blow to his former Mariners teammate Buhagiar, who tore his ACL in a training game on Sunday.
Winger Buhagiar had shown great promise in the pre-season and looked set for a big campaign since moving down to Sydney in the off-season. "I'm gutted for Trent. He's been fantastic," Corica said.
"It's just one of them things, [he was] unlucky at training. He's a great kid and I'm looking forward to him having a speedy recovery and getting back to full fitness.
"We have another foreign spot if we need to go into the market and bring in another player.
Out: Trent Buhagiar of Sydney competes for possession against the Wanderers in the FFA Cup semi-final.Credit:AAP
"We've started to have a bit of a look around and see what's available. But there's a lot of depth in this squad as it is and I believe in the boys and the staff."
The absence of De Silva and Buhagiar will mean a certain start for skipper Alex Brosque at Coopers Stadium, while it also presents an opportunity for promising youngster Charles Lokolingoy to stake his claim for regular minutes.
Lokolingoy, 21, was a youth team sensation for the Sky Blues but is yet to truly make his mark at senior level.
"[He] was probably a little bit behind Trent but it gives him an opportunity to step up and see what he's about," Corica said.
Friday's match also marks Corica's first at A-League level as head coach. He negotiated the winter months well enough – their pre-season record, including FFA Cup matches, stands at 10 wins and two draws from 12 outings. But the season proper is a vastly different kettle of fish, and he knows it.
Corica admitted there was "a lot of pressure" on his shoulders to ensure Sydney's success continues following the departure of Graham Arnold to the Socceroos, but it's nothing he's not used to. "I've said it's all about winning trophies at the club so it's nothing different to when I was a player as a club. We wanted to win every year," he said.
"There's a lot more responsibility. I knew that when I took the job. I've learned from all the coaches I've had in the past but especially Graham Arnold in the last couple of years.
"We have a lot of the same beliefs in football. That will carry on. He's pretty much set me up to take on this role and I'm ready. The boys are [too] and that's the main thing."
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