Gombau cagey on Riera Sydney derby fitness

Dec 8, 2017 - 3:25 AM Western Sydney coach Josep Gombau won't say whether hamstrung Oriol Riera will face Sydney FC in Saturday's A-League derby as the new coach makes a fourth attempt at a maiden win in the job.

Mystery has surrounded Riera's injury since the Spanish striker marched down the tunnel 19 minutes into last weekend's 2-0 A-League loss to Brisbane, at the time not visibly injured but apparently having strained his hamstring.

The club has been quiet on the extent of the injury and, though he was widely expected to sit out the Sydney derby, Riera was named in the Wanderers' squad.

But the coach was cagey on his condition.

"Today is the last training. He is training, we'll see what happens tomorrow," Gombau said on Friday.

"It's more a strain ... he is recovering well and the physios are treating him.

"Jaush (Sotirio) is out. He had a strain. But we have players to replace him. You will see tomorrow."

Mark Bridge was also named as available though is surely in doubt, having been a late withdrawal against the Roar due to back discomfort.

It leaves Gombau light on the attacking front as the Wanderers try for a first win in eight rounds.

The issue since Gombau's appointment five weeks ago is the demanding transition from Tony Popovic's playing style to his own, a slightly more attacking philosophy hinged on playing out from the back.

Yet despite the teething problems, the former Adelaide United and Olyroos mentor declared the game plan would not change in his first derby just because the Wanderers are on the back foot and facing the reigning champions.

In the hosts' favour at ANZ Stadium is that Western Sydney have had the better bite of the crosstown cherry the last two outings.

October's 2-2 draw at Allianz Stadium followed February's 1-0 win back at Olympic Park, when Tony Popovic's side became the only rival to snap the Sky Blues' undefeated season.

"We have a clear photo of what we want to be in the next years. We won't change this for a game," Gombau said.

"I think we can be competitive. A derby is a derby. If I am not confident, who can be confident? Me and the players are confident we can get the result with the support of our fans.

"In a perfect world I would like to have a pre-season ... and try to build up from there. The timing is not the best but it is what we have. We cannot complain about this."

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!