With one win in our last five games, Sunday afternoon is looking more concerning than a mid-season City fan would have thought.
Lacking what arguably has been our ‘spine’ across the park in Socceroos Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe and Curtis Good, it has been a difficult period. On our worst goal-scoring run this season, we have only scored twice in three games.
Of course, losing the goalscoring genius in Jamie Maclaren to international duty was going to be tough, but we would have hoped our other attacking players could fill that void. However, with Andrew Nabbout suffering his injury and Craig Noone rested for soreness, the kids have had to spearhead the attack. With the youngsters having mainly trained to play provider for the mature ‘NMN’ attack, goals have been hard to come by.
Therefore, we need a hero – but who will it be?
The dynamic teenager has been a breath of fresh air, particularly in the latter stages of the season. Playing 20 matches this season, you would say that his return of a goal and four assists is lacking – but he has only had 8 starts.
Incredibly, Marco has ousted both Craig Noone and Andrew Nabbout on the assists per minute front, which is incredible considering Noone, in particular, has been one of the leading chance creators this season.
With a possible start alongside Noone and Nabbout on the cards, we could see a frenzy of chances falling the home side's way.
One of our own. Stefan Colakovski is a player that you can tell is hungry for games just by watching him play. However, if Nabbout and Noone are rested and firing, it could be another late substitute appearance for the local winger – but that doesn’t mean he can’t have an impact.
With the number of close matches recently, we will undoubtedly need a player who can thrive off the back of limited minutes. This is something Stefan does expertly, leading the squad in regards to assists per 90 minutes, and second only to Maclaren for goals per 90, with 0.52 in each category – scoring and assisting twice respectively in only 345 minutes this season.
This could be his chance. From the stands to the pitch, Stefan could be his own hero come Sunday afternoon.
Glover secured his place in A-League folklore last season, making the most saves by a goalkeeper in an A-League Grand Final.
Despite this, fans have been left disappointed with the quality of saves made by Super Tom this season. Out of the 13 goalkeepers who have played more than 10 matches this season, Glover sits in 11th with a save percentage of 63.5%. This more than contrasts his 72% record from last season.
Not wanting to suggest that Glover’s time is up, I believe he is a great asset to the team with his fantastic passing out from the back and ability to organise his defence, but the ability to make big saves at crucial moments is a vital component in knockout football.
The Bulls will know that putting the ball past Glover is no easy task, but it is up to our number one to step up and ensure he does everything in his power to book us a Grand Final ticket.
This is our final chance at silverware until the FFA Cup comes at the start of next season. The City boys have been handed the best chance at progressing with the Mariners being beaten at home by the Bulls on Saturday night, as Macarthur finished 6th and are the absolute lowest ranking team we could have faced.
Despite this, there is no such thing as an easy victory come Finals time, so we'll need a hero. But who will it be?