Erick Mombaerts spoke to journalists via an online press conference this morning and provided updates on the fitness of Curtis Good and Richard Windbichler whilst outlining some of the challenges that the group have faced since entering the NSW hub.
City’s defensive stocks have been bolstered by the full return of Richard Windbichler, who has been injured since late 2019.
“He practiced every day,” Mombaerts said of his Austrian centre-back, "He was injured a long time but now, physically, he is at his top-level. He is ready to play.”
The Frenchman also detailed the return to fitness of Curtis Good, who had been recovering from a soft-tissue injury.
“He had a muscle injury but he is coming back at the moment,” Mombaerts explained, “I’m not sure that he will be ready for the first game.”
And yet more news of defensive reinforcement was thrust upon journalists, with Mombaerts also revealing that makeshift centre-back Rostyn Griffiths would be entering the NSW hub later today (Wednesday).
“We will prepare a physical program for him but he cannot touch a ball,” Mombaerts said of Griffiths. It was not made clear whether the player would be forced to isolate entirely by himself for the next two weeks or whether he would be able to join in non-training group events.
Mombaerts has found it difficult to come to terms with the shared training pitch situation, with the Frenchman explaining, “It is difficult also because we have to share the pitch with the other teams. It is difficult to prepare well the pitch only for us. But we have to accept this and we have to adapt.”
With the recent departure of Spanish winger Markel Susaeta complicating the team’s return to competition, Mombaerts was asked about how he might fill the Spaniard’s void going forward.
“I’m really sad Markel had to leave because he was a good player and a good person,” the City manager expressed, “We have Wales, we have Cola; we need to find a solution to substitute Markel.”
Also during the press conference, Mombaerts seemed to provide confirmation that there would be no ‘friendly’ games played between the Victorian teams in preparation for their return to competition play.
“We can’t have friendly games at the moment with the restrictions,” he said, “It’s too short (between the end of the quarantine period and City’s first game) to organise a friendly game to prepare us.”