In the mix: Western United v City

Melbourne City FC are back to winning ways in the Izuzu UTE A-League following a vital win on the road against Central Coast Mariners, but the team’s pursuit of a second-consecutive victory for the first time this season will be made interesting by a host of prospective ins and outs for Saturday’s matchday squad to face Western United.

Patrick Kisnorbo’s side will be bolstered by the returns of Scott Jamieson and Nuno Reis following their respective one-match suspensions served in City’s win over Central Coast.

The pair will hope to contribute to their side securing what would be just a second clean sheet of the season if City is able to shut out Western United this weekend.

Certainly, that objective would be made all the more possible by a return to fitness for either Rostyn Griffiths or Curtis Good, who will both seek to make a full recovery from COVID-19 infections and feature in the matchday squad. Griffiths missed the Central Coast game, whilst Good hasn’t featured for City in 2022.

Whilst City fans would no doubt welcome the return of all four of the aforementioned players, there will remain concerned about the team’s impending loss of Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe and Marco Tilio, who will all be away on national team duties with the Socceroos. In this quartet, City is losing a combined seven goals and four assists so far this season.

This mass exodus of Socceroos does, however, open the door for several others to feature in their place. Manuel Pucciarelli looms as a strong contender to replace the latter two and would be making his Izuzu UTE A-League debut in doing so, with the Italian able to fulfil Metcalfe’s role as a hard-working, all-action midfielder or Tilio’s role as a more attacking force at the tip of the midfield trio.

Stefan Colakovski will undoubtedly be the fans’ tip to replace Jamie Maclaren up front, though the aforementioned Pucciarelli or 16-year-old Max Caputo also loom as alternative options. With Leckie and usual left-wing deputy Tilio both set to be unavailable for Saturday’s game, Jordan Bos may be in line for a second-consecutive start after putting in a Player of the Match performance on his league starting debut.

Having played at left-back against the Mariners in Jamieson’s absence, the 19-year-old could be moved further afield upon his captain’s return to the starting lineup, with the youngster possessing the technical capabilities to play in the front three.