Victory’s Adama Traore set to miss Macarthur clash, other injured players making progress

Adama Traore’s return to Melbourne Victory will have to wait for at least one more game, with the left-back ruled out of his side’s trip to face Macarthur after waking up with a fever on Thursday morning. Injured stars Marco Rojas and Ryan Shotton, meanwhile, are inching closer to a return.

A walk-up starter when available, Traore had missed Victory’s last five games due to a suspension earned when he made contact with referee Chris Beath’s arm as he argued against a red card he received during his side’s eventual 7-0 loss.

Serving four games of the ban before the actual sentence had been laid down by an A-League independent disciplinary and ethics committee, the Ivorian’s suspension ended after Victory’s 2-1 loss to Perth Glory on Sunday evening. 

However, caretaker coach Steve Kean told media that 31-year-old defender had woken up on Thursday morning with a fever and, as a result, would not feature against Macarthur on Friday evening. 

“Most of the lads have pulled up well,” said Kean. “The only concern is Adama. 

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“This morning, even though he’s available for selection, he’s woken up with a very high temperature. So it’s unlikely that he’s going to be available, which is a shame because we’ve missed him and he would have been straight back into the team. 

“But he’s got a temperature of 38.3, which is very high. So he’s at home.”

Though Traore did receive a COVID test and isolate until his results came in as a precaution, the club doesn’t believe the cause of the fever to be related to the coronavirus – the defender not having attended any publically listed venue that would have exposed him. 

He’s had an 8 am COVID test and he’ll isolate until he gets those results,” Kean continued.  “But even if he gets them back in time, with the new rules of travel it’s going to be very difficult to get him there. So he’s out.”

Youngster William Wilson will replace Traore in the squad for the trip to Sydney’s southwest – the young defensive midfielder to make his first-ever senior appearance should he see the field. 

“[Wilson] won’t play [left back],” Victory’s caretaker coach said. “We’ll reshuffle and we’ll play somebody else in the fullback position. It would be unfair to ask him, if he does get on the park, to play out of position.”

His squad selection not otherwise affected by any fitness or injury concerns born from the Perth Glory fixture, Kean also revealed that injured players Shotton and Rojas had received positive news in their rehabilitation – albeit not of the variety that harkened an imminent return. 

Rojas, who missed time at the start of the season with a hamstring issue, has not featured for Victory since suffering a fractured fibula against Wellington Pheonix in late February. 

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Shotton, meanwhile, hasn’t seen the field since a March 27 draw with Central Coast Mariners. 

“Marco re-scanned his injury,” Kean said. “He’s now going to spend a little bit of time away from AAMI Park and actually go back home for ten days just to change the environment. 

“Hopefully in ten days time, he’ll actually be on the park training. 

“He’s going to go back [to New Zealand] and see his family, spend a little time in Auckland – one of the rehab centres there. They’ll take care of his injury in close connection with our medical team. They’ll deliver the program that we would have delivered here. 

“I think that, sometimes, when you do change the environment when you’ve got a long-term injury it can put a spring in your step when you come back and hopefully he’s got a kick on in ten days time. 

“Ryan Shotton is actually on the park now. He took part in yesterday and today’s session. Got through that well.

“He’s been out for so long and it’s just really only his second session – and it’s not the full session as such. We use him as a floater, sometimes if it’s nine vs nine or ten vs ten he’s an extra player, so he’s only training at the moment with the team in possession. 

“He’s not really closing down, he’s not really full training as such, yet. But hopefully, that will be next week and he’s making good progress and he trained well today.”

Victory last met Macarthur just seven days ago, going down 2-1 in a game that they outshot their foes 21 to 6 despite being out possessed 60-40. 

According to Fotmob, Victory outproduced the Bulls by 3.55 expected goals to 0.43 across the 90 minutes and the nature of their play in that game has Kean hopeful of another battling performance from his side. 

“It’s always strange when you play against a team again really quickly,” he said. “We felt we dominated the game [last time out]. 

“We’ll obviously try to nullify their threats but we feel as though there’s enough we did well in the game to build on. 

“We’ll go into the game confident we can get something from it. If not three points, we’ll make sure we’re really, really hard to beat.”

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne Victory

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