Terry Antonis is set to return to the first team squad against Newcastle Jets on Saturday, as cover for the injury doubt Brett Emerton.
The midfielder hasn-t been involved with the senior side since the New Year-s Eve trip to Adelaide United, and has been working on his match fitness with National Youth League team.
“Terry has been doing very well,” said Head Coach Frank Farina, after being asked who would take Emerton-s place.
“He-s had three 90 minutes with the youth team and played well so he might come back in, or Blake Powell but we-ve got a few options.”
Antonis- A-League season has been interrupted by representative call ups, most recently to the Socceroos squad for the East Asian Cup qualifiers in early December.
“I think it is one of the things that does him more harm than good,” said the former Socceroos coach.
“He goes away and he-s not playing 90 minutes all of the time, coming off the bench for 10/15/20 minutes.
“He needs regular football at the moment, he-s 19 years old and once he gets that you-ll see the best of him.”
However after six years in the national job Farina understands the necessity of having the best players available.
“If they are picked they have to go, it-s as simple as that. I don-t have a problem with it but sometimes for the younger ones it can be a little more detrimental than positive if they are not playing regularly,” he continued.
“Expectations are very high because he-s a national team player but that-s something he-s got to deal with.
“I said to him the more you play, the better for you at the moment.”
Farina is also encouraged by the news on Brett Emerton-s fitness.
“The hamstring looks ok, I think it-s more neural than anything.
“He-s had an injection in one of the discs in his back so we really want that to settle down, particularly with another two games coming up at home. (vs Brisbane Sunday 10th Feb; vs Adelaide Saturday 16th Feb)
“I think it will be just the one week out, pretty sure he-ll miss this weekend so he should be fine by the next game.”
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