The reigning premiers and early season high-flyers will look to continue their impressive form without two key forwards when Kevin Muscat brings his team to Parramatta StadiumThe Western Sydney Wanderers have been dealt a double blow on the eve of Saturday's clash against Melbourne Victory, with striker Tomi Juric ruled out for a month to join livewire Youssouf Hersi on the sidelines.
"They're both out for this game, Youssouf (foot) is still not quite right, he's getting closer but we don't quite feel he's ready to play a game," coach Tony Popovic said on Friday.
"And Tomi unfortunately is out with that knee injury he sustained against Melbourne Heart.
"It's a little worse than we expected and we've been given a rough guideline of about a month (before he returns)."
Juric has already scored three goals this season and Popovic admits his injury set-back is a blow but is confident he has the depth to cover the 22-year-old's absence.
"It's a shame for the boy but that's part of football and this will be part of his maturity and growing as a player to deal with a set back and come back a stronger player," he said.
"We've got options and we've tried to, in every department, make sure that our squad is stronger and that we have a lot of competition for places.
"And we've got a few options that we'll have a look at today and we'll make a decision but we'll be comfortable with whoever plays up front."
Mark Bridge, Labinot Haliti and Brendon Santalab will likely share the attacking burden in Juric's absence against the Victory.
Popovic refused to guarantee skipper Michael Beauchamp's return after he was dropped against the Heart to accommodate Matthew Spiranovic.
"We'll have a look at that today, he's trained very well like all the other players and there's serious competition for places now and we've got a squad that wants to compete for honours (in the A-League) and also we want to try and do well in the Asian Champions League," he said.
Meanwhile, Popovic remains wary of the visitors under new coach and former Socceroos team-mate Kevin Muscat after replacing Ange Postecoglou.
"They're still a very good side, a very dangerous side and can score from any situation and we haven't seen any real changes in the last few weeks," Popovic said.
"We just see a very good team as we saw previously with Ange and we will continue to see with Kevin.
"He's always had leadership qualities and was a leader on the field who has a really good understanding of the game and personally, I'm not surprised that he's got this role and I'm sure he'll do very well with it."
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