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Tavares heads to Europe for ankle rehab

NZN 7/12/2016 Vince Rugari

Mickael Tavares has been given permission by the Central Coast Mariners to return to Europe for 10 days to seek rehabilitation on his injured ankle.

The 34-year-old left Gosford on Wednesday and will miss the team's match against the Wellington Phoenix in Hamilton on Saturday.

Tavares will meet a specialist he has worked with previously in an effort to avoid surgery that would have otherwise put him out for two months.

The French-born Senegalese midfielder missed Saturday's 4-1 A-League defeat to Western Sydney because of the injury and is not expected to play again until Central Coast's away clash with Melbourne Victory on December 28 at the absolute earliest.

Midfielder Liam Rose, who replaced Tavares against the Wanderers, admits his absence will be a big blow for the inexperienced Mariners.

"I want to play as much as I can. But in saying that, Mickael's a massive loss for us," he said.

"He's very experienced. He's a great player and when he's in the team we work very well."

Captain Nick Montgomery (hamstring) also missed out on the weekend but is considered a chance of playing against the last-placed Phoenix.

Interim head coaches Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham will take the reins of the Phoenix for the first time after Ernie Merrick's surprise resignation on Monday.

Rose says the Mariners aren't concerned about an on-field response from Wellington's players to the change of coach.

"We're not worrying about what's happening over there, that's for them to worry about. We try to focus on ourselves," he said.

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