Gava gets Roar deal
By STEVE SPINKS
INJURY has prevented Lismore soccer player Todd Gava from a showdown with former English Premier League star striker Dwight Yorke ... for now.
Gava, part of the new Queensland Roar A-League side, has been forced to withdraw from the final pre-season competition clash with Sydney FC and Yorke on Saturday after injuring his knee and ankle in the Roar's 5-0 romp against the New Zealand Knights last weekend.
"I'm not happy about it," Gava muttered from his Brisbane home.
"Miron (Bleiberg, his coach) wanted me to mark Dwight Yorke man-on-man.
"It's pretty disappointing, but the luck didn't go my way."
Instead of travelling to Cairns with his team-mates yesterday, the 23-year-old is doing rehab in Brisbane.
It's a bitter pill for Gava to swallow as the prospect of marking one of his boyhood heroes was mouth-watering for the rookie pro.
Making the injury even more frustrating is that it could have given the former Lismore Italo Stars captain the chance to cement a starting spot with the Roar before the A-League season proper kicks off later this month.
"I was given the opportunity of starting three weeks ago," Gava said.
"I played trials against Newcastle and Adelaide, and I played quite well and maintained my position.
"But Miron is a funny coach. He's very tactical and will quite often start you on the bench even after you've played really well because of the opposition."
Gava was injured with about 20 minutes remaining in the Knights game.
"I took a hit on my ankle and my knee buckled as well," he said.
Sydney FC head into the game on Saturday having won 18 games straight, including a first-up win over the Roar in the World Club Championship qualifiers earlier this year.
Gava was overlooked for this early encounter with the glamour Sydney club.
To progress to the semi-finals of the pre-season competition, Sydney has only to win, while the Roar has to secure the victory and rely on the New Zealand Knights defeating the Central Coast Mariners ? probably with a few goals to spare.
Whatever happens, Gava hopes he will get the chance to mark Yorke and Sydney FC later this year.
Barring injury, it will probably happen.