Socceroo Joshua Kennedy out of Nagoya Grampus' ACL clash with Central Coast Mariners

The Australia international is not fit to face the A-League outfit in a huge encounter, with both sides hoping to reach the AFC Champions League Round of 16
Nagoya Grampus' Australia international Joshua Kennedy has ruled himself out of Tuesday's important AFC Champions League [ACL] clash with Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners due to a back problem.

The towering Socceroos striker has battled a back problem in recent weeks but played almost a whole game in Saturday's J-League win over Vissel Kobe.

However, Nagoya boss Dragan Stojkovic told reporters that Kennedy would not face the Mariners, in a clash where the winner will progress to the knockout stage.

"Kennedy will not be in the team tomorrow. There is some problems with his condition. I respect his decision, so he will be out," Stojkovic said.

Seongnam, who host bottom-placed Tianjin on the final group matchday, top Group G on seven points, ahead of Nagoya on goal difference.  The Mariners are third on six points.

Stojkovic added: "Tomorrow is an important and interesting game because both teams have a chance. Winning the game is the most important thing for tomorrow."

The Mariners have not played a competitive game since they thrashed Tianjin 5-1 in matchday five, following the conclusion of their A-League season.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold said he hoped that may enable his side to be fresh for the must-win encounter, despite the absence of Oliver Bozanic, Troy Hearfield [both injury] and Pedj Bojic [suspension].

"In our last performance we beat Tianjin 5-1 and the players were extremely fresh and fit and we have worked hard on the training ground with a friendly in between to get ready for tomorrow night," Arnold said.

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