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Sydney calls Petkovic in for cover

10 September 2013-SBS: Dave Lewis

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Well travelled ... Nikola Petkovic (Getty Images)

Sydney FC is set to unveil former Red Star Belgrade defender Nikola Petkovic as an injury replacement for the luckless Terry Antonis.

Former Serbian Under-21 international defender Petkovic was confirmed by Sky Blues CEO Tony Pignata as the likely option to fill the gap, pending permission from Football Federation Australia and the issuing of a short-term visa.

"There is a little bit of red tape to get past yet and it's a short-term deal which will run for around 16 weeks," said Pignata.

"We are keen to get this across the line and he should be with us until January time if things go well."

Petkovic's gain comes from Antonis' pain, with the quad injury the gifted midfielder suffered playing for the Young Socceroos in the build-up U-20 FIFA World Cup now likely to keep him out until Christmas in the latest setback for the 20-year-old.

Pignata feels for Antonis, explaining: "It's been a tough year for Terry. He missed the Under-20 World Cup in June because of the injury, then the deal to Parma fell through and now this.

"The injury is worse than we initially thought and we have to manage it properly because if it happens again he could be out for the season and that's the last thing anybody wants.

"He could be back sooner but we are playing it safe. But Terry's a tough kid and he will bounce back."

Petkovic is much travelled, with his list of clubs including Turkish Super Lig with Genclerbirligi, fellow Turkish outfit Hacettepe SK (loan), Eintracht Frankfurt, Russia's FC Tom Tomsk (loan) and Israel's Hapoel Tel Aviv (loan). There were also two brief stints with Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli.

The 27 tear-old can operate either as a left back or as a stopper and made 23 appearances in his second spell for Red Star after initially being loaned to the club back in 2008.

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