Sydney FC full back Michael Zullo is still feeling the aftershocks of a fierce challenge in Sunday's semi-final that prevented him from being able to train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday in preparation of this weekend's A-League grand final in Perth.
The Australian international defender is hoping to overcome a minor shoulder injury in time for Sunday's decider having sustained the knock in the second half of Sydney's 6-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
Zullo was eventually forced off the field in the 77th minute when fouled by the Victory's Kosta Barbarouses earlier in the game. Still suffering from soreness and discomfort, the left back was the only available player not to take part in the team's training session on Tuesday, restricted to light jogging only and recovery with the team's physio and conditioning staff.
The 30-year-old underwent examination from Sydney FC's medical staff and was cleared of a long-term injury but it hasn't stopped the club from keeping the defender on ice early this week. He will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness in time for the decider and a club spokesman suggested Zullo is expected to shake off the injury.
With five days before their season's crescendo, the Sky Blues looked anything but nervous in their first full training session since their demolition of perhaps their fiercest rivals.
Sydney's carefree mood appeared more reflective of what would be expected in a pre-season session than one of the final training runs before a grand final. That relaxed demeanour is not to be confused with a lack of ambition, though, with the Sky Blues determined to win their third attempt at silverware this season, having come within touching distance twice already.
Missing out on the Premiers' Plate and the FFA Cup has been a point of frustration for English striker Adam Le Fondre, who left his homeland hoping to add at least one more trophy to the 2012 Championship title that sits in his trophy cabinet.
"It's what I've come out here for, to play in the big games," he said. "We were unlucky in the FFA Cup finals and Obviously coming runners-up in the Premiers Plate, it's another opportunity to win some silverware and Sunday we have to put a top performance together."
Sunday's match looms as a potential final A-League game for Sydney FC marquee Siem de Jong. The Dutch international is on loan from Ajax and has not held talks with the Sky Blues over a possible extension of his deal. He is set to return home in June and is hopeful of working his way back into calculations for the UEFA Champions League semi-finalists.
"I haven't really spoken to the clubs yet because I am going back to Holland first and then see what happens, speak to Ajax and see what they want because I have one more year left on my contract there. I have no idea what my situation will be," he said.
"I have always said I have enjoyed playing here, I would love to play here some more but I said the same at Ajax. If I had the chance to play I would definitely try to get picked for the [Ajax] squad next season."