Victory defender Ansell in race for finals place after injury

Promising central defender Nick Ansell has been struck down with injury, putting the 19-year-old in doubt for the remainder of the season Indonesia   By GOAL AUSTRALIA

Melbourne Victory have suffered a major blow with defender Nick Ansell likely to miss the remainder of the season with a groin injury.

Ansell, who has recently established himself as a first-team regular in the heart of Victory's defence, copped the injury in the first half of Saturday's pulsating win over cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.

Scans on Tuesday revealed the 19-year-old suffered an avulsion fracture to his left adductor longus, which occurs when the tendon pulls part of its bone attachment away.

The club are hopeful he will only be sidelined for six to eight weeks, but with only seven rounds remaining before the finals, it appears unlikely he will feature again this season.

The injury could force Victory back into the transfer market.

"Obviously this is disappointing as Nick has been really good for us since he made his debut back in Round 11 against Brisbane Roar," coach Ange Postecoglou said.

"It's always hard for those guys who didn't have the benefit of a full pre-season to get through an entire campaign unscathed and unfortunately that's the case with Nick."

Since making his debut against the Roar, Ansell has started eight out of nine games for Victory with his only miss coming against Perth in Round 17 due to a slight groin complaint.

Meanwhile, former Victory midfielder Isaka Cernak - now with Wellington Phoenix - says his move to Perth Glory for next season is far from a done deal.

Cernak, who was signed by the Phoenix for the rest of this A-League campaign on January 24, said he is negotiating with several clubs about next season - including his current outfit.

"It's not a done deal at the moment," said the 23-year-old attacking midfielder of a move to Western Australia.

"I'm not too sure how it'll go at the moment. It's just all up in the air.

"I've been in talks with a few clubs. I'm just trying to make the best decision. At the moment I'm enjoying the football here [at Wellington] and that's my focus.

"They've given me this chance to come here and I'm very grateful for that and focusing on repaying that faith for the rest of the season and then who knows."

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