Murray United will be without defensive duo Sean Pye and Nick Teichmann for Saturday’s clash with the in-form Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve.
The pair suffered injuries during last weekend’s 3-1 victory against Whittlesea Ranges and will miss the next week or two, while coach James Coutts has ruled himself out of the starting 11.
Coutts left the field early in the second half with an ankle issue, but scans this week revealed the injury wasn’t as bad as first thought.
“Pysey is hoping to get back for the Richmond game (next weekend) and Nick has been assessed and is looking similar,” he said.
“My injury is a tendon issue and isn’t as bad as first feared, so hopefully it settles down this weekend.
“It depends on what we need squad-wise, so we’ll see.
“There’s been games where guys have played with painkillers and strapping, but you’ve got to fight through that.
“The adrenaline gets you through the game.”
Ryan Giles, Zac Walker and Alex West are expected to slot straight back into the starting line-up to cover the losses.
Coutts’ men spilt the points with the Thunder in a 1-1 draw earlier in the season at La Trobe – a result that gives Murray plenty of confidence.
“I felt down here when we played them, we dominated a lot of the ball, especially first half,” Coutts said.
“We’re hoping to go there and do the same thing.
“They’re obviously going for promotion still and would like top spot, so we’ll make sure for ready for it.”
Coutts admitted the last six weeks of the campaign will give him the opportunity to promote some of the club’s juniors up into the senior side.
“With our strongest 11 on the park, we’re pretty strong and after that it’s very inexperienced, which is fine,” he said.
“We’ve had guys like Connor (Caponecchia) come in and do really well, Lewis (Greenwood) has done really well and there’s boys in the under 20s that are pushing and will get some game time between now and end of the season.
“Connor has had to bide his time, he’s played well in the under 20s and he’s still got a lot to learn, but he’s come into the seniors and performed.
“He kept Zac (Walker) out of the team last week and this week he’ll be starting again.
“Troy (Pawlik) has been doing well, Curtis (Iverson) as well, Harry Drummond has had a couple of injuries, but is getting close to it and Isaac Read in the under 18s is going to be playing more in the under 20s and potentially some senior games.
“We trust them, we trust their ability and we’ve always shown with young players that has long as they’ve got the right attitude, they’ll get game time.”