Tatura export Vince Lia is nearing a return to first team action for Adelaide United.
The defensive midfielder has been out of action since his remarkable two-goal feat against Melbourne Victory in October after injuring the medial ligament in his knee.
Lia, 32, was named on the bench during the Reds’ 1-0 loss to Sydney on Friday night.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors would make Adelaide pay by breaking the deadlock against the run of play, courtesy of a well-crafted goal finished off by Brazilian Bobo.
In the second half, Marco Kurz’s men piled on relentless spells of pressure, though Sydney’s resistance could not be broken as Lia watched on from the bench.
Despite not playing in the A-League last weekend, Lia did feature for the Reds’ National Youth League side in which he got through 60 minutes, and is hopeful of a starting berth on Friday.
Ahead of United’s away clash with Melbourne Victory, the Reds sit one point clear of their rivals in fifth position, having won three of nine games.
Before his injury Lia was an ever-present figure for Kurz’s side in the first three games, after finding himself at a new club.
Lia, who spent 10 seasons at Wellington, was disregarded by the Nix before the Reds gave him a lifeline and he will be hoping he can assert himself in the A-League yet again, having already made 223 appearances.
Lia has started 187 of those 223 games and prior to the round three clash against Victory, the hard-nosed midfielder had only scored four goals and received one red card.