The City faithful look set for a late one tomorrow night, with our boys in blue set to travel to take on Perth Glory in a behind-closed-doors clash at 9:20pm AEST as we look to go six points clear on top of the table.
Last time out, the boys ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against bottom-of-the-league Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park, so will need to stay switched on in what could be a banana peel fixture in our pursuit of an inaugural Premier’s Plate.
Most recently, Perth Glory worked with Macarthur FC to coordinate one of those three-consecutive god-awful 0-0 stalemates that played out over the weekend, but were probably unlucky not to take out the win against their inferior opposition on the day.
With Nuno Reis and Daniel Georgievski bolstering tomorrow’s matchday squad, here’s what we’re looking forward to ahead of the Glory clash:
Face the mental demons and be rewarded
HBF Stadium has hardly been a happy hunting ground for City over the years; if anything we’ve been the ones getting hunted when we play over there.
Of the 15 times we’ve faced the Glory at HBF, we’ve won just three times (giving us a winning percentage of 20%) and have even endured a run of over six years without a win there between late 2011 and early 2018.
The good news is that we’ve won two and lost two of our last four there, halting that terrible run, but there’s no doubt that we’ll need to defeat some mental demons if we’re to pick up the maximum points in this one.
The prize at stake here is massive; win and we go six points clear at the top with a game in-hand and back at home (where we’ve won 8/9 this season) on Sunday against the Roar.
Whilst we’re still well-aware that anything could happen, that it wouldn’t be a mathematical certainty, that there would still be seven games left to play after and that you’re all probably screaming at us to shut up and keep a lid on it, returning to Melbourne with the three points would just about see us with fingertips on the Plate.
The strongest is about to get stronger
Whilst City may have cruised to its 3-1 victory over Newcastle on Thursday night – and is currently enjoying a five-game unbeaten run and a four-point lead at the top – the starting lineup is only going to get stronger tomorrow night when Nuno Reis and Daniel Georgievski are added to the matchday squad to face Perth.
Reis would almost certainly be a lock to slot straight back into the heart of defence, with Rostyn Griffiths likely moving back into midfield, though Georgievski’s prospects of a starting debut aren’t as clear.
The A-League veteran hasn’t been at the peak of his powers – when he would have had an uncontested claim on that starting spot – for a while now and isn’t likely to rediscover that at the age of 33.
Still a quality A-League asset, Georgievski’s introduction into the already fiercely-contested battle to start at right-back only ensures that the very best of him, Scott Galloway or Ben Garuccio make it to the starting lineup; a net-positive for City in our eyes.
Finishing off with a quick one, and there’s one man who’ll be particularly eager for tomorrow night to roll around ASAP; Jamie Maclaren is a man in form, and he’s got some milestones to shatter.
One goal and he’ll have his A-League tonne, two goals and he’ll bring up 50 for the club, three goals and he’ll move level with Bruno Fornaroli as the greatest goalscorer in Melbourne City history…
…And we know that equal-first just won’t be good enough for him.