Wellington Phoenix forward David Ball admitted that he could be forced to play through the pain barrier against Newcastle Jets on Friday.
Ball injured his hip flexor against Central Coast Mariners and missed the Western Sydney game as a result, but was introduced ahead of schedule as the Nix chased a result away to the Brisbane Roar last Saturday.
Despite early fears, the strikers hip wasn’t as bad as it seemed and he was able to take part in the Roar loss in Brisbane - even if medical staff had to rush him back.
“The initial one was a tear of the hip flexor, which could be four-six weeks out,” explained Ball. “But scans showed a few low grades, which meant I could get back quicker than first thought. We’ve pushed it along a little faster but I’m feeling okay.”
Ufuk Talay spoke about how he didn’t want to use the English forward on Saturday, but felt compelled to as he watched Wellington create and miss a catalogue of chances. Those frustrations saw him turn to Ball, who has scored three goals and created four assists in the A-League this season.
“I felt it (hip flexor) a little bit but managed to play through it,” continued Ball. “It’s a case of getting training under by belt and getting ready for Friday.”
Wellington have plenty of options up front and can call on Ulises Davila, who is one of the leagues leading forwards, and Gary Hooper to deal plenty of damage to the opposition. Youngsters like Ben Waine and Callum McCowatt are also progressing well and McCowatt has become a key part of the squad.
Ball added: “I think we’ve got some really talented players up front, no matter who comes in we’ve got goals all over the park.”
But it isn’t all back slaps and laughter around the park. The young lads know they have to work hard and can’t let the senior men down when they come into the side, and that’s an attitude that will hold them in good stead moving forward.