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Hernandez to sit out Heart clash

March 14, 2014 11:56:05 UK

Playmaker Carlos Hernandez has been ruled out of Wellington Phoenix’s trip to AAMI Park to face Melbourne Heart.

The Costa Rica international misses Sunday’s clash with a calf injury that left him unable to train all week.

Coach Ernie Merrick was hoping Hernandez would be able to prove his fitness on Friday and had named him in his initial extended squad.

Merrick said it was sensible to rest the player, as the club’s attempts to nurse him through recent games had not worked.

Belgian striker Stein Huysegems is set to take Hernandez’s role in midfield, with Tyler Boyd joining Roy Krishna in attack.

Manny Muscat is back from suspension in place of midfielder Matthew Ridenton, while Shaun Timmins comes in for the injured Josh Brindell-South at left back.

Hernandez has been playing through his calf problem in recent weeks as he looks to help the New Zealand side into the A-League finals and secure his own place at the World Cup.

He gave a public show of his frustrations during last Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Perth Glory, when he headed straight for the bench after being substituted in the 64th minute and banged his hand against the dugout.

The Phoenix, having dropped two points at home to the competition’s bottom side last weekend, need to take something out of the trip to Victoria.

But the coach said revenge for their 5-0 home defeat at the hands of Heart last month wasn’t being used as a motivation.

Merrick said: “It’s about being competitive, it’s about doing our jobs individually and collectively. But there’s no doubt in the back of their minds, they’re thinking this team beat us 5-0 last time and it would be really good to get a win here.

“But it’s about making the finals, that’s our focus, and focus on their individual roles and not about the outcome or any over-aggression.”

The Phoenix are 4.50 to win in Melbourne, with the Heart 1.75.

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