As the City boys head into another busy period of fixtures over Christmas and New Year’s, there’s plenty of squad news and players itching to feature in Wednesday night’s FFA Cup Quarter Final against Wellington Phoenix.
In case you missed it, Wednesday night’s clash at Casey Fields will be free to all! Members can simply show their membership card on mobile barcode to enter, while non-members can click here to register for a free ticket.
The big news out of last Saturday’s Melbourne Derby was the sending-off of Jamie Maclaren, who will now miss City’s clash with Wellington on Wednesday.
Stefan Colakovski looms as one of the prime contenders to fill the void left by Maclaren up top, with Andrew Nabbout, Mathew Leckie, Manuel Pucciarelli and Max Caputo also capable of filling in as City’s striker on the night. A place in the starting lineup would be an important step toward Colakovski’s return to regular Melbourne City action, having played only a handful of minutes in the Izuzu UTE A-League since his start against South Melbourne in the FFA Cup Round of 32.
Mathew Leckie and Nuno Reis headline the injury news for City heading into Wednesday, with both players in doubt for the team’s clash with Wellington. Leckie missed the Melbourne Derby with a slight niggle that he’ll need to overcome if he’s to feature in the Cup, whilst Reis was substituted off in the 66th minute with a hamstring issue on Saturday. Rostyn Griffiths may be in line, then, for a first start since City’s last Cup fixture, having struggled with a shoulder injury in recent times.
In his pre-match press conference Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo confirmed that both Leckie and Reis were tracking well and available for selection, but it will be interesting to see whether they play a part on Wednesday night or are held over for City’s next league fixture.
The aforementioned Manuel Pucciarelli looks like one of the likely beneficiaries of any potential rotation if Kisnorbo elects to do so, with the versatile 30-year-old – capable of playing as a midfielder or forward – having started in City’s Round of 16 win over Hume and recently named to the bench for Saturday’s Melbourne Derby. Fans haven’t been able to catch too much of City’s new Italian signing in action this season, with Pucciarelli’s 64 minutes against Hume serving as his only appearance thus far.
Finally, a point of interest heading into the clash will be which of Scott Galloway or Nathaniel Atkinson are named to Kisnorbo’s starting lineup.
Both players have been in outstanding form this season; Galloway has been consistent across his six starts, whilst Atkinson starred in the Round of 32 before sustaining an injury that he’s since recovered from with some impactful bench cameos and a highly-praised performance in the Christmas Derby. Whichever player starts, Kisnorbo and the rest of the team will be reassured by the undeniable quality at City’s right-back position.