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McMaster set for Wellington stint

30 November 2012 02:25

Goalkeeper Griffin McMaster is set for a second spell at the Wellington Phoenix, as a temporary replacement for Glen Moss.

The 29-year-old Gold Coast shot-stopper will join the A-League side in New Zealand to cover the absence of Moss, who is expected to be out for a month with a hernia.

Moss, who has played second fiddle to Mark Paston this season for the Phoenix but played in New Zealand's World Cup qualifiers, will see a specialist in Auckland on Wednesday.

"We've brought in Griffin McMaster just to cover him for a month maybe," Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert told Sportal.

"We don't think it will be any longer. It's not a serious injury. It's just a sports hernia.

"It's disappointing. He's a good keeper and the rivalry with him and Mark is strong. But he's got to be right too."

The latest injury is more frustration for Moss who missed the end of last season with the now-defunct Gold Coast United when he tore his abductor muscle off the bone.

"I think he's really disappointed because he grabbed a couple of games with the national team and he's vying for a spot here. He's hungry to get back," Herbert added.

Phoenix football school of excellence goalkeeper Scott Basalaj had been Herbert's first choice as a replacement. But transfer regulations prevented that.

"Ideally Scott, we would have rolled him straight in. But there are a few regulations (which mean we can't)," he said.

Instead it will be McMaster who crosses the Tasman to play back-up to Paston.

McMaster's previous spell at the club was at the start of the 2010/11 season when he was signed as an injury replacement for then goalkeeper Reece Crowther who was out for eight weeks with broken ribs. McMaster never took to the field.

Since then, the former Brisbane Roar keeper has been plying his trade in the Victorian Premier League.

"He's also been doing a little bit of work with one of the other A-League clubs so he's been active," Herbert said.

Aside from McMaster replacing Moss on the bench for Sunday's game against Western Sydney Wanderers Herbert won't be tinkering too much with a side that has claimed a win against Newcastle Jets and a draw against Perth Glory on the road in the past two weeks.

The only potential change would be Belgian striker Stein Huysegems, who came off the bench in Perth, replacing youngster Louis Fenton alongside Paul Ifill and Jeremy Brockie.

Herbert will stick with the midfield trio of Manny Muscat, Vince Lia and Alex Smith in a 4-3-3 formation.

"I like the three of them there," Herbert said.

"They do a good job. Manny is probably getting more familiar playing as a holding midfield as opposed to having a partner in there now."

Herbert has been impressed with the way the Wanderers have started their debut A-League campaign under coach Tony Popovic.

"I think they've done a good job. They've probably spent a bit of money though on the team. They've got some good players. It's not surprising their results have been reasonably consistent," he said.

"They are a hard-working team. We had the chance to play them in pre-season and they were strong. But we're back home and it's up to us to put our best foot forward and get three points this week."

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Friday 28 November

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Thursday 27 November

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 8 +10 18
2 7 +4 18
3 8 +6 17
4 7 +6 15
5 7 +0 9
6 7 -3 6
7 7 -5 5
8 6 -3 3
9 7 -9 3
10 6 -6 2

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