Wellington Phoenix has signed Panamanian Ricardo Clarke and he may make his debut from the bench ina friendly agaisnt wester Sydney Wanderers in Christchurch on Sunday.
Clarke, 19, joined Phoenix on loan as an injury replacement for midfielder Dani Sanchez who is out of action after a knee operation.
The player only arrived in Christchurch on Saturday and head coach Ricki Herbert said he would be assessed by the club’s medical and technical staff before deciding whether he would play a part in the game at AMI Stadium.
“It depends how much the long journey has taken out of him,” Herbert said of Clarke, who plays up front.
“If possible, I would like to give him a run but we’ll wait and see how he is.”
Herbert described the game as his team’s “first real major test” after touring India and playing local sides in pre-season games.
“It is a great opportunity to get a benchmark as to where we are at,” he said.
“West Sydney have played other A-League teams pre-season, they are new to the competition and will give us a good challenge which is what we need.
“We are missing Sanchez, Paul Ifill, Jimmy Downey, Vince Lia, Mirjan Pavlovic and Lucas Pantelis but it provides a good opportunity for the new players we have signed.
“Louis Fenton will get an opportunity to start and Stein (Huysegems) will have the chance to familiarise himself with his new teammates in a game situation.
“Leo (Bertos) is settling into a new role at right back. He has looked comfortable so far but he will get tested tomorrow.
“Manny Muscat is reverting to the holding midfield role where he has done so well in the past.”
Dual-championship winning A-League manager Ernie Merrick was appointed coach of Wellington Phoenix on a two-year deal, with an option to sign on for a third.