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Sydney FC's Tavares cleared of serious injury

Mickael Tavares

Sydney FC midfielder Mickael Tavares has been cleared of a serious groin injury after undergoing medical scans on Monday but is still in doubt to play against Perth Glory on Friday. 

The Senegalese international sustained a groin strain and was forced off the field during Sydney's 1-0 loss to Adelaide on Saturday night but has been cleared to play again before the finals after scans revealed it was a minor strain. 

But the defensive midfielder might still not take part in Sydney's crucial match against second-placed Perth Glory on Friday given the short turnaround and travel associated with the match. With the finals on coach Graham Arnold's mind and less than a month away, Tavares might be spared from the trip to prevent further risk of injury. He did not train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday and underwent treatment and light work with the club's physio and medical staff. 

Should Tavares be rested for the trip to Perth on Friday, it could create a selection headache for Arnold with Terry Antonis ruled out for at least two weeks. Antonis is still a chance to play again this season after scans revealed no significant damage to his injured knee but won't be back until round 27 at the earliest when Sydney FC play Wellington Phoenix. 

The loss of the two midfielders for the match against the Glory will open the door for Rhyan Grant and Chris Triantis to push for a start in what is already a competitive fight for positions. Winger Chris Naumoff says the loss of internationals Antonis and Tavares is a blow but believes there is enough depth of quality to return from Western Australia with three points.

"Look, every player we have at Sydney plays an important role but they're two great players everyone knows about. It is disappointing but that's football, these things happen and we'll have to make do with what we have. We have enough talent still to finish our season on a high," Naumoff said.  "Mickael has a bit more experience playing in Europe as well so he helps the younger boys, he's obviously a great player and everyone can see and everyone knows how Terry is such an exceptional player."

The Sky Blues face a Perth Glory side embroiled in the A-League's greatest salary cap scandal with uncertainty hanging over the club as to whether they will face severe sanctions from Football Federation of Australia including having points deducted. The club must respond to the FFA by Wednesday evening in response to a second show-cause notice of serious salary cap breaches before any potential penalty will be imposed by the governing body. 

The FFA board will determine if and what penalty will be imposed which could have a significant bearing on the composition of the top six. Sydney FC could know the fate of Perth before Friday's match but Naumoff says the club's football department hasn't discussed this issue in their preparations. 

"Personally I feel that wouldn't have an effect on us as a team. That's off the pitch and out of our control so there's not much we can do about it," Naumoff said. 

Perth's players showed their strength in testing times by defeating Newcastle Jets 2-0 at a soaked Hunter Stadium on Monday afternoon and Sydney say they are expecting a strong showing from the Glory irrespective of what happens this week in relation to their salary cap drama. 

"Every team requires a different analysis that we go through every week but in terms of training, we'll go through our game plan and the boys will work hard for the weekend as usual," Naumoff said. 

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