The City boys are returning to Melbourne’s south-east this Tuesday to take on Bentleigh Greens in our second friendly of the preseason, having travelled to Oakleigh two weeks ago where we narrowly came away with the 4-3 win.
The Greens are having another successful season in NPL Victoria, and currently sit in third place, with star striker Matthew Thurtell having scored 15 goals in just 21 appearances this campaign. However, the team aren’t in great form, winning only 1 of their past 5 games, including a 3-2 loss to Dandenong City on Friday night.
Melbourne City put on a convincing display in their FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Campbelltown City last Wednesday, winning the match 3-1 thanks to a Jamie Maclaren brace and a left-foot rocket from Craig Noone.
The upcoming fixture provides an opportunity for Bentleigh to get their season back on track with a convincing display against City, who’ll see the match as a platform to refine their new attacking style of play.
Here’s what we’re looking forward to ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly.
More Metcalfe, please!
One of the bolters from our previous fixtures against Oakleigh and Campbelltown, 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe has reportedly had quite the impression on the new gaffer throughout the preseason, according to Joey Lynch.
Metcalfe was one of our standouts from last week’s FFA Cup match, and was particularly impressive on the occasions that he'd pick the ball up just outside the box and unsettle the opposition defence, even getting involved in the buildup to our first goal in this exact manner.
Against NPL opposition, it’d be great to see Connor get another opportunity to impress the fans ahead of the new season.
Experimentation at right-back?
Scott Galloway was forced to sit out the rest of the game following an awkward fall from height which injured his shoulder late in the piece against Campbelltown last Wednesday.
Whilst the official Melbourne City website has indicated that the full squad is available for selection, there’d be no harm in a precautionary week off for the right-back, which would allow for experimentation on that side of the backline.
Nathaniel Atkinson would be the logical straight-swap, and could continue pushing his case for a spot in the starting lineup. Alternatively, Richard Windbichler could slot into the heart of the defence, pushing Harrison Delbridge out onto the right, a position he became quite adept in over the course of last season.
Bentleigh have dropped off quite considerably since head coach John Anastasiadis left mid-season to take up an assistant coaching role with Western United, and have conceded more goals than any of their top 8 counterparts in NPL Victoria, putting them in quite a shaky position heading into this friendly.
If there was ever an opportunity for Erick Mombaerts to focus on implementing his attacking philosophy and to dominate a defensively-lacklustre opposition, it’ll be this match.
In short, we’re expecting City to put on quite the show up-front.
Melbourne City are set to take on Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Tuesday, August 6. Kick-off will be at 7:30pm.