|By ADAM LUCIUS
Sydney FC coach Frank Farina has decided against risking Alessandro Del Piero against Wellington on Sunday, instead banking on the Italian superstar's return for the Harbour City derby a week later.
Del Piero injured his right hamstring during the 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart last Sunday and has not trained all week.
The Sky Blues hope their marquee signing will be fit to take on Western Sydney Wanderers in the second instalment of the city's A-League derby on December 15.
"Scans have shown that Alessandro has suffered a strained hamstring so he will not be travelling to Wellington for Sunday's game," Farina confirmed on Thursday.
"It's a long flight and with time differences it's not an option for him to play.
"The positive news is that there is no tear but we will re-evaluate how the injury has progressed and what we do going forward next week when we get back in to training."
Defender Pascal Bosschaart challenged his team-mates to lift in the Italian's absence.
"He is our best player and we have to show some courage and show we can do it without him," he told Sportal.
"This is a good opportunity for someone to step up.
"He is very important to us - he is one of the most creative players in the world and we'll miss him 100 per cent - but we have to get on without him."
Sydney broke a four-match losing run against the Heart but face their hoodoo team in the Phoenix.
The Sky Blues have lost their last five encounters against the Kiwis and have not won in Wellington since January, 2008.
Bosschaart said: "It's always a tricky trip. We haven't won there too many times.
"But there were some good signs last week. We started with a point and hopefully we get all three this week."
The match will mark Farina's first in charge since signing a short-term contract, replacing Ian Crook.