Chloe LogarzoThe Matildas will have to contest the Algarve Cup without Chloe Logarzo after the Jets midfielder suffered a setback in her recovery from ankle surgery.
Logarzo travelled to Portugal last week ready to play with the n women’s team for the first time since their Rio Olympics quarter-final run last August.
But the 22-year-old, who missed the W-League season with Newcastle, has since developed bone bruising that will delay her return until at least April, when she starts the Norwegian season with new club Avaldsnes.
“She’ll be out for another four or five weeks, unfortunately for us, and her,”Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said.
“Now we just need to be patient and get her right, and make sure she’s 100 per cent for the upcoming season she’s got in Norway, and then the internationals we’ve got later on in the year.”
The squad is also without Michelle Heyman, while Katrina Gorry is suspended for Thursday’s opening match against Olympic silver medallists Sweden.
But Germany-based pair Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond joined the team on Monday, and Stajcic remained confident of a strong showing at the invitational tournament.
Statistics indicate the group-stage battle will be hard-fought.
The world No.6 Matildas last drew 1-1 with eighth-ranked Sweden at the 2015 World Cup, defeated the 12th-ranked Netherlands 1-0 earlier that year and have drawn 1-1 with 13th-ranked China three times in the past 24 months.
“So we know there’s a struck match between us,” Stajcic said.
“Going into the Sweden game we’ll start with our strongest line-up and see where we go from there.
“But the intention is to get as much depth and experience in the team as we can.”
Less-experienced faces including Ellie Carpenter, Emma Checker, Amy Harrison and Alex Chidiac are all set to get minutes. Stajcic was particularly impressed at Chidiac’s progression during pre-tournament camps.
The top two teams from across the three groups advance directly to the final.
“You could win every game in your group and still not make the final, so it’s a little bit tough,” Stajcic said.
“But at the end of the day the biggest objective for us is playing well and testing out our team and individuals, rather than worrying about the mechanics of the draw.”
’s games will be screened live on Fox Sports.
v Sweden, 5.30am Thursday AEDT v Netherlands, 2am Saturday AEDT v China, 2am Tuesday AEDT