MATILDAS? INJURY WOES



THE Matildas squad has been hit by injury ahead of Sunday's Beijing Olympic qualifier against Chinese Taipei with striker Jenna Tristram and midfielder Danielle Small forced to withdraw from the 18-strong touring party.

Coffs Harbour local Tristram injured her knee at training the day after last Saturday's match against Hong Kong and scans revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament ruling the 20-year-old out of contention for September's FIFA Women's World Cup in China.

Sydney-based Small is also suffering from a knee injury though less serious with the veteran of 38-appearances for Australia set to be available for June's crucial home and away qualifying matches against DPR (North) Korea.

Both players featured as substitutes in Saturday's 15-0 rout of Hong Kong in the opening Group B match at the BCU International Stadium in Coffs Harbour.

The injuries have left coach Tom Sermanni with a serious selection headache as the team is already without the services of key players in midfielder Sally Shipard (foot) and striker Caitlin Munoz (knee) though both are expected to also be available for the June matches.

"It's obviously disruptive on a number of levels for the squad to have these injuries but on the positive side we now have good depth and are more prepared for such eventualities," Sermanni said.

The coach was quick to express his concern about the injury to Tristram, a player who's talent has excited Sermanni since he spotted her kicking some cracking goals as she climbed through the junior ranks.

"It is of course highly unfortunate for Jenna and the timing of the injury makes it even harder to accept given she has just made her national team debut in her home town," he said.

"Jenna has the makings of a really good player with genuine speed, a nose for goal and she is also starting to adapt to the rigours of what is required physically at senior level.

"She has a good attitude and I have full confidence she will return and stake a strong claim for selection once again."

Returning to the squad for the first time since November's Peace Cup in Korea is pacy striker Lisa DeVanna who has spent the last few months playing in England with Doncaster Belles. Defender Clare Polkinghorne has also been added to the squad traveling to Chinese Taipei.



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