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United in struggle for numbers

Canberra United captain Ellie Brush was shattered after the first send-off in her W-League career against Western Sydney on Sunday, with her team now facing a situation of having only just enough players to field a full team against Melbourne Victory this weekend.

Brush received two yellow cards, earning her a red card and an automatic one-week suspension.

''[I was] obviously very disappointed, and quite upset … and the fact I [was] letting down the team for the rest of the game and of course next week, [it's] still taking a bit to get over,'' Brush said.

With Brush ruled out, Canberra United's selection woes for the Melbourne match are further complicated by an agreement struck with Matildas coach Tom Sermanni to not play Michelle Heyman or Sally Shipard if he didn't select them for the East Asian Cup qualifiers so they could instead play for Canberra United in the World Club Championship in Japan.

''It was about parity and fairness across the league because a number of clubs will be missing a whole lot of players for the next two weekends, including Melbourne,'' United CEO Heather Reid explained.

Despite the fact Shipard is still recovering from knee surgery and was ruled out for the Wanderers match, Sermanni said he would have picked her for the Matildas if not for the agreement, leaving Reid negotiating for Shipard's inclusion on the bench this week to prepare for the World Club Championship.


''He [Sermanni] has said if Melbourne Victory are OK about it, she could be a substitute player,'' Reid said, but she was yet to speak with Victory coach Mike Mulvey.

''Clearly we want to try and get Shipard onto the field [ahead of Japan] given that she couldn't play [on Sunday].''

If Shipard can't play, it will leave United to test the complete depth of its squad, with only 15 available players, after Ashley Sykes went down with a quad injury and Hayley Raso unavailable due to school commitments.

But coach Jitka Klimkova was finding positives in the situation.

''Everyone will be on the field which is good for the team, that each player can have some minutes on the ground, and I'm sure they'll grab their chance,'' Klimkova said.