MELBOURNE Heart coach John Aloisi is taking a cautious approach ahead of round one after an unlucky run with injuries so far this pre-season.
After losing marquee man Orlando Engelaar against Brisbane Roar, Aloisi was taking no risks against Adelaide United on Friday night by resting star man Harry Kewell and striker Michael Mifsud.
Despite his attempts to limit any injuries ahead of their opening round clash against Melbourne Victory, Patrick Gerhardt still limped off injured after an awkward fall on his ankle in the second-half.
Heart also have Rob Wielaert fighting to be fit for round one with the Dutch centre-back set to resume training this week.
“In pre-season games we seem to get some injuries and I don’t want to risk certain players in these games. Patrick Gerhardt hurt his ankle but hopefully it’s not too bad,” said Aloisi.
“Harry will be ready next week, well he’s ready now, so he’s just making sure he’s fresh.
“We know that we’re gonna have five or six players coming back in to the squad very soon and we’ll be ready come game one.
“I was looking at the first game of the season instead of today.”
Heart went down 2-1 to United at Epping Stadium courtesy of a Marcelo Carrusca double, with the club still yet to register a pre-season win against A-League opposition since their formation four years ago.
But Aloisi stresses that pre-season results are meaningless, with the side’s performance and getting game time in to players the main focus.
“Pre-season’s about getting ready for the new season and trying a few different things and we did that today,” said Aloisi.
“Everyone wants to win and we’re no different - we want to win pre-season games but there’s no three points up for grabs.
“It’s mainly about getting players to try and get games in to their legs, and players that won’t normally play during the season an opportunity against a top side like Adelaide.
“It’s a good opportunity for the likes of Paul Retre and Marcus Schroen to have a game and just try a few different things and I thought all in all it was quite good.
“The performance in the second half was not too bad and we created a couple of chances.
“I learned that the players that we’ve had training with us in the youth team can still do a job when they come in.”