Melbourne Victory's A-League preparations have been dealt a blow with goalkeeper Matt Acton ruled out for up to six months due to a shoulder injury.
The 27-year-old suffered a left-shoulder dislocation in pre-season training last week and the club said he was undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday.
Acton - who last year forced his way into the starting line-up late in the season at the expense of Lawrence Thomas - has targeted a return towards the end of the season which begins next month.
"It's unfortunate to lose a talent like Matt from the group for a sustained period," said Victory coach Marco Kurz.
"The outcome is disappointing for everyone.
"He is a popular member of the squad and will continue to contribute to the group in any way that he can.
"We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back at full fitness as soon as possible."
Victory's A-League season commences on October 12 in a derby against Melbourne City, with Thomas now seemingly assured of starting as goalkeeper.
Australian Associated Press