Melbourne City returns from the international break this weekend, gearing up to face Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Up against a Jets side down on form, City will be eyeing off the full three points as we look to cement our place at the top of the table.
Here’s what to watch for come Sunday!
Socceroos stars return from international break
Marco Tilio and City’s newest Socceroos duo, Aiden O’Neill and Jordan Bos, will return to the fold for City this week as the boys ramp up preparations for our first game in two weeks.
Both O’Neill and Bos are fresh off memorable debuts for the national side, with the former starting the first friendly against Ecuador before we saw all three of our City boys come on as substitutes in the second fixture.
Making his debut on home soil, Bos became the fifth City Academy graduate to represent the Socceroos on the international stage.
With an extra spring in their step following such a momentous occasion, City will be hoping that energy and enthusiasm can be brought back into the squad as we look to close out the season in style.
International break a blessing in disguise
The international break came at an opportune time for the City squad as we prepare for the final six games of the regular season and what is set to be an action-packed finals series.
While our position at the top of the table hasn’t wavered, the squad has been hit with a handful of injuries to key players in recent weeks, meaning Head Coach Rado Vidosic has had to call upon other members of the squad to fill the void.
The most notable injury is the one to star forward Mathew Leckie, who was sidelined for two months after suffering a hamstring injury back in February.
We’ve also been without Richard van der Venne, who has missed a handful of games due to a slight hamstring strain, with club captain Scott Jamieson stepping into a role in midfield to cover the Dutchman’s absence.
To top it all off, while he’s bravely played through the pain, a persistent foot injury has also hampered Jamie Maclaren in recent weeks.
With two weeks of no football, the break came at the perfect time for a lot of our City boys currently battling niggles and injuries to get their body right as they prepare to make a charge towards the Premiers Plate.
Last push before finals
As we head into the final weeks of the season, points are at a premium as clubs jostle for positions in the top 6.
For City, having led from the front all season long, we’re in no danger of missing the Finals, but instead, it’s a case of finishing what we started and closing out the final weeks strongly.
Our strong regular season form has seen us record only three losses, however, two of those have come in the past five games.
As we gear up for Finals, our boys will be hoping to find their groove once again and return to the incredible consistency we have seen already this season.
This Sunday’s clash against the Jets is the perfect opportunity for the side to return from the international break with a bang, in what will be the first of three home games in eight days.
Coming off a 1-1 draw with Macarthur last time out, we’ll be eying off all three points at home as we look to lock in that Premiers Plate sooner rather than later.
How have our opponents been travelling?
It’s almost been a case of limping to the finish line for the Newcastle Jets, having not recorded a win since late February. After a bright start to the season, it lost three games straight before conceding in the 97th minute to draw with Perth Glory last time out.
While its recent form hasn’t been great, with Finals positions still on the line, expect to see a fired up Jets side this Sunday.
What happened last time?
Richard van der Venne’s first goal plus another from Jamie Maclaren lifted City to a 2-1 win the last time these two sides met back in November.
We’ve also won our last three matches against the Newcastle Jets, scoring nine goals across those meetings.
A-League Men: Round 22
Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets
Sunday 2 April, 3:00PM KO