Melbourne City FC will aim to consolidate its position inside the top four of the Westfield W-League table when it faces Victory in the Melbourne Derby at Epping Stadium on Sunday.
As the battle for a place in the Westfield W-League Finals Series intensifies, City will enter the final Melbourne Derby of the season determined to return to winning ways.
The reigning champions showed strength of character to fight back against Sydney FC in the Grand Final rematch last week, with Jess Fishlock capping off her first match as interim Head Coach with a goal to secure a 1-1 draw at Allianz Stadium.
A run of five matches without a win may look underwhelming on the exterior, but recent performances suggest that City, who currently sit eight points adrift of leaders Sydney in fourth place, are not far off from clicking into top gear.
With only three league matches remaining and fifth placed Brisbane Roar chomping at the heels for a spot in the top four, defender Laura Alleway admits it is vital to get points on the board sooner rather than later.
“It was a good result against top of the table Sydney and we have a couple of games left to prove ourselves and get firing moving into the Finals Series,” Alleway said.
“We need to focus on ourselves, go out there and use that same mentality we had last weekend and take it to Victory, hopefully get some confidence out of the game and keep rolling.
“It has been a different mentality and a different year this year, but I think we’re bouncing back at the right time and we need to start getting some wins on the board.
Fishlock – who is City’s top scorer with six goals this season – and captain Steph Catley were the chief destroyers in the previous Derby encounter, with both players finding the net as City wore down a spirited Victory outfit to record a comfortable 3-0 win at AAMI Park in Round 4.
As is so often the case in derby clashes, the form card goes out the window, with Sunday’s clash a golden opportunity for City to flex its muscle ahead of an important run-in to the Finals.
There are no fresh injury concerns for City, who will enter the final stages of the league campaign with a clean bill of health.
Striker Larissa Crummer notched up another 75 minutes against Sydney as she continues her return to full fitness, and is expected to lead the line once again alongside American Beverly Yanez, who is going from strength to strength as she continues to adapt to the rigours of W-League football.
How to follow the match
The final Melbourne Derby of the season will be held at Epping Stadium and kicks off on Sunday at 4pm.
Westfield W-League – Round 12
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City FC
Venue; Epping Stadium
Melbourne City FC squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2. Teigen ALLEN, 3.Lauren BARNES 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY (c), 9.Larissa CRUMMER, 10.Jessica FISHLOCK, 11.Erika TYMRAK, 13.Rebekah STOTT, 14.Melina AYRES, 15. Amy JACKSON, 16. Beverly YANEZ, 17. Marianna TABAIN, 18. Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Emily SHIELDS (GK)
*Two to be omitted*