Lucas Neill's first domestic game back in hometown Sydney in more than 17 years is on ice, but the Sky Blues have re-signed three players
|By JOHN GRECO
Sydney FC's joy at re-signing three key players has been tempered with news defender Lucas Neill will miss Saturday's clash with Central Coast with a calf injury.
Neill failed to complete Thursday's training session and will miss at least a week with a minor muscle tear.
The Australia international captain first complained of some soreness in his calf towards the end of the Sky Blues' 2-1 loss to Perth Glory on Saturday but was hopeful it was just tightness.
But Neill, who turns 35 on Saturday, aggravated the problem during training and his absence is a huge blow to Sydney FC ahead of their do-or-die clash with the Mariners at Allianz Stadium.
The match was to be the veteran's first domestic game inhis hometown of Sydney in more than 17 years.
"[Neill's] out, he won't play Saturday," Farina told reporters on Thursday.
"He thought it was just tightening up at the end of the Perth game but there's a small tear there.
"Hopefully he should be available for the Victory game [next week]."
Farina said Brazilian defender Tiago Calvano was Neill's likely replacement to partner Adam Griffiths in the centre of the Sky Blues' back four.
Neill's injury setback came less than an hour after the club announced they had re-signed three more players to their roster for next season.
Captain Terry McFlynn [one year], emerging midfielder Peter Triantis [two years] and goalkeeper Ivan Necevski [one year] all re-committed to the club, meaning Sydney FC now have 19 players secured for next season.
There had been some conjecture over McFlynn's future, with the Northern Irishman suffering a loss of form and relinquishing his spot in the team early in the season.
Some sections of the Sydney FC crowd even jeered McFlynn, who is the only player to have been with the Sky Blues since season one, during the side's poor start to the campaign.
"When I came here I said to him, 'There's a lot of people calling for your head'," Farina said of his captain.
"I said, 'I'll judge you on how you perform', and I've been very impressed with him.
"Clubs tend to discard or throw away players who have given good service.
"He's a great club man and I believe you have got to have a culture within the club."
McFlynn said he was excited to prolong his Sydney FC career into a ninth season.
"I have always said that I will be at this football club as long as I'm wanted and I'm looking forward to continuing to give everything for Sydney FC," he said.
"Nine years ago Sydney FC gave me a chance in Australia and I love this club. I'm happy my future is settled for next season so I can concentrate on the next four matches as we try to qualify for the finals."
Triantis, who has signed his first professional deal after making the step up from the National Youth League this season, added: "This is a special day for me and my family.
"I've really enjoyed myself at the club this year and worked hard to get some game time in the A-League after starting the season in the youth team.
"Now I want to make sure I continue to learn and grow as a player and help Sydney FC move back to the top of the A-League."