Ward parachutes out of Jets match

Nick Ward (left) playing for the Wellington Phoenix.
Nick Ward (left) playing for the Wellington Phoenix. Getty Images Sport - Hagen Hopkins

WELLINGTON Phoenix midfielder Nicky Ward will miss Friday night's clash against the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium due to a concussion.

The Australian suffered a head knock in last Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Melbourne Victory and could be replaced by Brazilian winger Daniel.

Daniel, one of the first players signed to the club and scorer of their first A-League goal, has been rarely sighted this year as he lingers on the bench.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has chosen to play Daniel in an impact role, although even that diminished in recent weeks.

"It is the first time in my five years here that I have had four games on the bench and not got on the field, apart from the minute or so against Perth when Lochy [Tony Lochhead] got injured," Daniel said.

"Of course I wasn't happy, and it was very frustrating, but I respect Ricki and the decisions he has to make.

"All I can do is train hard and if I do get an opportunity show what I can do.

"I want to play and when I was called upon in Melbourne I was raring to go."

During Sunday's loss to Melbourne, Daniel and Spaniard Dani Sanchez brought plenty of life to a Phoenix side that missed Paul Ifill due to a groin injury.

Ifill remains in doubt for Friday's game.

Meanwhile, Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has declared himself fit as the Jets prepare to end their Westpac Stadium curse against the Phoenix.

Topor-Stanley has been cleared to return from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Jets' 2-1 loss to Sydney FC at Ausgrid Stadium last Saturday.

The 26-year-old former Socceroo said the injury had responded well to treatment and he was keen to help the team end a two-game losing skid at a venue where their record is one win and seven losses from their last eight matches.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond was expected to name his team, and a stand-in captain for the suspended Jobe Wheelhouse.

Topics:  a-league wellington phoenix

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