Western Sydney playmaker Youssouf Hersi has returned to training after injuring his foot and hopes to be fit for the A-League clash with Brisbane.
Western Sydney livewire Youssouf Hersi is back smiling and on track to return from injury in Friday night’s top-of-the-table A-League clash with Brisbane.
The Wanderers’ key playmaker joined his teammates on the training paddock this week for the first time since injuring his foot in the Sydney derby on October 26.
Coach Tony Popovic was upbeat about Hersi’s progress on Tuesday but stopped short of guaranteeing him a start in the blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.
“He looks very happy and determined and his foot’s improved,” Popovic said.
“Now we just have to assess how he trains this week and how his body is, whether he will be available for selection.”
Despite winning all three matches in the absence of Hersi’s midfield magic – against Adelaide, Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory – Popovic admits his inclusion this week would provide a great boost for the undefeated Wanderers.
“He’s a very good player. It’s nice to have him out on the training field. I’m sure the boys like having him out there,” he said.
“He’s a great character and it’s good to see him happy again and over this injury.”
Popovic praised the likes of Tahj Minniecon, Shannon Cole and Brendan Santalab who have helped plug the hole left by Hersi.
“Everyone will play a role this year and the players that have come in have done a great job,” he said.
The coach declared his entire squad – bar injured young gun Tomi Juric – in contention for a starting spot, including skipper Michael Beauchamp who was dumped in favour of Matthew Spiranovic for the past two games.
The Wanderers sit two points clear of the Roar on top of the A-League ladder after six rounds and have not lost any of their past 18 regular-season matches.
Although pleased with how his fledgling side is travelling, Popovic continues to downplay their on-field success and says Friday night will be a huge test for last season’s minor premiers.
“It will be what we expect: a real tough encounter.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for the way Brisbane plays and the players they’ve got, so we know they’ll be very strong come Friday night (despite last week’s loss to Newcastle).
“We just want to put on a very good performance and we know if we do that, we give ourselves a chance.”