Off the back of a short turnaround, Melbourne City is gearing up to face Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Easter Monday.
With the end of the regular season fast approaching, City will be hoping to make it two wins within a week after securing a 2-1 result over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.
Here are a few of the key talking points ahead of Easter Monday football.
With the replayed Melbourne Derby taking place during the week, City will play its second game in just five days – and third in eight.
Action has quickly ramped up since the international break, and we will be hoping to continue our winning ways and further extend the buffer at the top of the table.
Squad management may be in mind for Head Coach Rado Vidosic, with players’ workloads set to be a big consideration as we head into the backend of the season and eyes turn to Finals.
City’s depth has been tested over the last couple of months with injuries to key players, but the entire squad will be working hard on the training pitch and looking to put their names forward as we head into the final few games of the season.
O’Neill continues strong form
It’s Aiden O’Neill’s world, we’re all just living in it!
The newly capped Socceroo has been in scintillating form for City in recent weeks and despite playing an anchoring role in midfield, has been in great goalscoring form.
He found the back of the net once again in the Derby to give City a 2-0 lead in the 57th minute, his fourth of the season after taking 50 appearances in City colours to get off the mark.
O’Neill appears to have brought that confidence gained from his Socceroos call-up back into the City camp, playing with freedom and creativity all over the pitch.
With a few big names for City watching on from the sideline, Vidosic will be hoping to see O’Neill once again take control of the midfield on Monday and put in another big shift.
City eyeing off back-to-back wins
While Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory may have counted as a Round 8 result, City will be eager to record consecutive wins for the first time since February.
The last time the ladder leaders were able to string together back-to-back wins together came after a crushing 6-1 win over Macarthur at home, followed by a 4-2 victory against Perth on the road.
Since that, we’ve seen a mixed bag of results as we aim to get back to the consistency that we showed in the early parts of the season.
Up against a side down on confidence following two straight losses, City will have a great chance to register all three points at home and strengthen its push towards the Premiers Plate.
What happened last time?
The last time these two sides met saw City bring in the new year with an emphatic 3-1 win on the road.
We recovered from an early David Ball goal in the 16th minute when Mathew Leckie hit back just moments later, before Jamie Maclaren secured the result with a second-half brace.
How have our opponents been travelling?
Sitting in 5th, Wellington is coming off a loss to the same side City defeated earlier this week, falling 2-1 to Melbourne Victory just over a week ago.
After Oskar Zawada gave the Phoenix a first-half lead in the 25th minute, Wellington would concede twice in the second half and suffer defeat for the second consecutive fixture.
A-League Men: Round 23
Melbourne City vs Wellington Phoenix
Monday 10 April, 4:00PM KO