Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce expects to have in-form striker Jamie Maclaren back from concussion next week, with the battling A-league club in need of his goalscoring prowess.
City's 3-0 away loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday left them with just one win from their last eight games and in danger of dropping a spot into sixth by the end of the round.
That sole victory was a notable one at high-flying Sydney FC just before the international break, but City were unable to build on their momentum against the Sky Blues' cross-town rivals.
They couldn't capitalise on chances early in each half and missed the predatory striking instincts of Maclaren, who has scored five goals in as many games since joining the club.
The Socceroos forward was ruled out of Saturday's game after getting concussed at training earlier in the week.
"The ball hit him on the side of the face," City coach Warren Joyce said.
"It (concussion) is a serious issue nowadays and we're guided by the medical people and the welfare of Jamie is the first and most important thing."
Joyce expected Maclaren would be back for next Friday's home game with the struggling Brisbane Roar.
Maclaren's misfortune meant City couldn't build on the developing partnership between him and Englishman Shayon Harrison, another mid-season signing.
Harrison is the only City player other than Maclaren to have scored for the club over their last eight games.
'"The frustrating thing is we've done quite a bit of work for a couple of weeks on the understanding of Shay and Jamie," Joyce said.
'We've got to get on with it, we've got to dust ourselves down get ready for a quick turnaround again next week."
Joyce was adamant Wanderers should not have been awarded the penalty from which Oriol Riera scored their first goal.
He lamented missed scoring opportunities and errors which led to the Wanderers' other two goals and insisted the home team were no better than his side in the first half.
Joyce said Rostyn Griffiths and Iacopo La Rocca would be checked for minor muscular niggles.