Injuries, bans hurting United

HE’S got the gift of the gab and Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg will need to use all his motivational powers for Saturday’s A-League match against Melbourne.

Three of his players are suspended – though Dutch defender Bas Van Den Brink’s four game ban is under review – and another six are injured, leaving Bleiberg with just one specialist central defender in Michael Thwaite to take on the table-topping Victory at Etihad Stadium.

Bleiberg has had to rule a line through his three Brazilians, Robson, Jefferson and Milson as well Daniel Piorkowski, Richard Greer and Ivory Coast attacking fullback Adama Traore.

It has severely disrupted his build-up, with only 13 senior players able to train, forcing him to turn to the club’s youth stocks.

Defensive trio Zac Anderson, Ben Wearing and Stephen Topalovic, young forward Golgol Mebrahtu and Youth League captain Steven Lustica are all expected to be included in a preliminary 18-man squad, which will be cut to 15 when the team heads to Melbourne tomorrow.

“Miron will have to put some square pegs in a few round holes,” a Gold Coast official said yesterday.

“Sometimes in the face of adversity miracles do happen but we will be underdogs.”

The only clash between the two clubs ended in uproar when Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat converted a retaken pen- alty to snatch a late 2-1 win.

Paul Hart is the first English Premier League manager to lose his job this season after he was “relieved of his duties” by basement club Portsmouth.

Portsmouth have won just twice in the league this and sit at the bottom of the ladder.

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