Cameron Lindsay has been ruled out of Wellington Phoenix’s A-League match against Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
The 19-year-old had been due to make his A-League debut at right-back for the Phoenix, who already have seven regular players away on international duty, but has been forced out with illness.
After arriving in Melbourne on Friday, Lindsay was vomiting throughout the night and was taken to hospital on Saturday morning where doctors ruled him out of Sunday’s game.
That has resulted in Jimmy Downey, who has missed all of the pre-season as he recovered from injury, being summoned from Wellington.
He is expected to join his team-mates in Melbourne on Saturday evening and will take a place on the bench for the game at AAMI Park.
Young goalkeeper Scott Basalaj will also start from the bench after failing to fully recover from an illness which has seen him lose six kilos following the Phoenix’s pre-season tour of India.
Jacob Spoonley, on loan for the week from Auckland City, will start in goal.
Vince Lia, another who has missed all pre-season matches due to a knee injury, is now expected to start at right-back in place of Lindsay with another academy player Tom Biss coming into the midfield.
“Somehow I just keep floating back there but I’m just happy to be back fit, training and getting a chance to play,” Lia said.
“I’ve got a game almost by default but it is a chance for me to do well and stake a claim for a regular spot.
“It is going to be a tough game with so many of our regular starters not here but it is also an opportunity for the young players to shine.
“Louis (Fenton) showed what was possible last week and this is a chance for others to do the same.
“There is no pressure on the young guys. They should just go out and enjoy it.
“The good thing is we’ve known about it (international duty) for a while and been able to prepare for being without them.
“When you’ve got so many internationals in a team it is going to happen. It is just good this year we’ve got more depth, even with the long-term injuries we’ve got.”