ALM Preview: Perth v City

After a rare eight-day break, Melbourne City will return to the pitch to face Perth Glory away this Friday night.

Coming into the fixture with some momentum after a 1-0 win over Adelaide last time out, Aurelio Vidmar will be hoping to see his side make it back-to-back wins.

Here are a few of the key factors that will decide Friday’s match.

How many minutes for Jeggo?

We acted quickly following the departure of Hamza Sakhi, signing 15-time Socceroo James Jeggo earlier this week.

After flying into Melbourne late on Sunday, Jeggo was at the club first thing on Monday morning to meet his new teammates, the City coaching staff, and get to work.

Slotting into the squad seamlessly, the immediate question now becomes how long will it be until we see him start for the first time?

It was new-look midfield three last time out, comprised of Terry Antonis, Steven Ugarkovic and Tolgay Arslan, the trio performing admirably in the 1-0 win.

Vidmar already confirmed when speaking to media on Thursday that Jeggo wouldn’t start against Perth, but it will be interesting to see how many minutes we see him play off the bench.

While he may have only joined the team in training this week, Vidmar will be able to count on Jeggo’s match fitness – the midfielder having made 28 appearances (all competitions) already this season in his time at Hibernian FC.

Spoilt for options on the wings

While we have been tested for depth on the wings in recent weeks, our fortunes appear to be changing with some positive news on the injury front this week.

Star winger Mathew Leckie has been included in the squad, while Marin Jakolis looks on track to return next week.

Perhaps more likely to receive a starting berth than Leckie though is Andrew Nabbout, who has now made three consecutive substitute appearances since returning from an achilles injury.

Now having had over a week to recover from the win against Adelaide, Vidmar may be looking at Friday night’s fixture as the perfect time to unleash Nabbout from the opening whistle – such has been his impact as a substitute.

Although there may be a plethora of options to consider, both Ben Mazzeo and Leo Natel put in strong shifts starting on the wings last time out and remain solid options too.

A quick turnaround from last time

In a quirk of this season’s fixture, we’re set to face Perth away from home for the second time in less than two months.

Back in December, it was a chaotic affair with two VAR interventions inside the first 20 minutes.

Callum Talbot was first shown a red card which was quickly overturned before a penalty was awarded to the Glory five minutes later, Salim Khelifi slamming it into the post.

Tolgay Arslan gave us the lead from the spot in the 35th minute after yet another VAR intervention saw a clear foul in the box, but Adam Taggart equalised on the stroke of half time.

The 66th minute would see the crucial moment of the night, Leckie rising high to nod home the eventual winner.

Perth have struggled since then recording just two wins, although have taken four points from their last two matches which have both come on the road.

Match Details

A-League Men: Round 15

Perth Glory v Melbourne City FC

Friday 2 February, 9:45pm KO (AEDT)

HBF Park