Football 2 years ago

Fit and flying City OK with van 't Schip

  • Fit and flying City OK with van 't Schip

Melbourne City finally have the problem they've been dying to have - who to leave out of their A-League team.

For much of their six-year existence, coaches John van `t Schip and John Aloisi have fought a losing battle with injury lists.

But with Robi Koren travelling to Newcastle for Sunday's match and Aaron Hughes in full training ahead of next week's derby, City are as healthy as they've been in some time.

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"It's now about the competition and showing that you really deserve to play," van `t Schip said.

"The boys are doing well - it's now (about) waiting for your chance.

"That's only good. We need that competition."

City's treatment room isn't entirely empty.

Corey Gameiro won't be back after his second ACL injury in as many seasons, with fringe first-teamers Michael Zullo, James Brown and Marc Marino still some time away.

But City's depth - particularly in midfield - means Koren will wait for his chance.

The 35-year-old Slovenian has missed two months with a calf injury originally diagnosed as two weeks.

Van `t Schip is likely to hand him a cameo to aid his fitness as Koren earns his way back into a side approaching top gear.

Opponents Newcastle have the opposite form-line but also some important players on the mend.

Captain Nigel Boogaard has been named in the squad again with Leonardo also to be given the chance to prove his fitness.

But they are without a win since a remarkable 3-2 comeback over City six games ago.

In contrast, City have consecutive 5-1 drubbings to their credit. Another win could put them second should other results go their way.

Van `t Schip said the results brought confidence, though he believed City were far from the finished article.

Given their last meeting, he said this match could be the most revealing of City's season so far.

"If we want to be a team that is going to go for the top spot, you have to have more consistent results," he said.

"That's why the game against Newcastle is very important to see where we are."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Melbourne City have become the first team to score five goals in consecutive A-League games with 5-1 beltings of Perth and Central Coast

* Aaron Mooy has created a league-high 38 chances - way ahead of the next-best creator (three players on 21)

* Set-pieces could be key. Both the Jets and City have four headed goals, the best return in the A-League

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