Erick Mombaerts will leave it late to decide just how to use Jamie Maclaren as he makes his return from injury against his former side Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon.
Maclaren missed the last two rounds of Hyundai A-League action but Mombaerts’ side showed no signs of missing their star striker, scoring six goals across the two games as they moved to outright first on the table.
Find out Mombaerts’ plans for the returning Maclaren, plus how Michaël Maria compares playing in Australia to Europe, Mark Rudan’s Panagiotis Kone injury update and more in our pressers wrap ahead of Round 6.
Mombaerts wants Maclaren from the get-go
Despite missing the last two rounds of Hyundai A-League action, Jamie Maclaren sits atop the scoring charts with four goals from his first three games.
Maclaren scored consecutive braces against Adelaide and Western United before succumbing to a hamstring injury that has kept him out of Erick Mombaerts’ side for two weeks, and as the Caltex Socceroo makes his way back into the selection frame Mombaerts is hoping he can use his star striker from the start against the Roar.
“It’s better for me that he starts,” Mombaerts said.
“It’s better for me, but we’ll see with the player. We have two trainings before the game, so let’s see if Macca is getting better physically.
“He is getting better...I’m confident.”
Maria: Hyundai A-League a greater physical challenge than European leagues
Michaël Maria has played a considerable amount of his blooming career in Germany and Netherlands, and the 24-year-old has noticed one major change coming to the Hyundai A-League.
“Comparing the A-League to European leagues, it’s the (physicality),” Maria said.
“It’s a lot more running and less tactics. We’re managed quite well with (Verbeek) who is trying to put some tactics in.
“I’m really enjoying it, I also can see it’s a lot different for (Verbeek) as well.
“Australia and Europe you can’t really compare with each other, but I think he’s also adapting very well and he’s trying to just go with the flow and make sure everyone is happy.”
Rudan gives positive Kone injury update
Western United fans held their collective breath as Panagiotis Kone trudged off the field with an injury in the 22nd minute of their clash with Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend.
But United boss Mark Rudan has given a positive assessment of the Greece international’s fitness ahead of his side’s clash with Newcastle Jets on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s (Kone’s injury) not as bad as first thought,” Rudan said.
“If he does miss this game he’s definitely back in the week after. He really wants to play this week as well, and we’ll give him until game day.”
Wilkinson: 6-1 Semi Final Victory demolition means nothing now
Sydney FC defender says despite gaining confidence from last season’s 6-1 Semi Final win over Melbourne Victory the Sky Blues know the result means next to nothing in the context of a new Hyundai A-League campaign.
Victory come into the clash with new boss Marco Kurz at the helm, and both sides have made changes in personnel which makes the first Big Blue of the 2019/20 campaign a very different prospect to the last one in 2018/19.
“It’s a completely different scenario,” Wilkinson said.
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“It’s different squads this year, different teams and Melbourne’s got a new manager. Of course it gives us confidence, results like that are good for confidence.
“We’re going into the game very confident, we’ve had a nice little break and before the bye we were playing some good stuff, so we’re looking forward to getting back out there.”
‘It’s the best stadium in the Hyundai A-League’: there’s no place like home for Jordan Murray
Central Coast Mariners striker Jordan Murray scored his first goal of the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season away to Melbourne City last weekend.
Now, the 24-year-old hopes to carry his goal-scoring form back home when the Mariners host Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, at the stadium he believes is the best in the land.
“It’s always good to get off the mark, to get your first goal is a monkey off the back,” Murray said.
“For a personal reason it was good to get off the mark (last week) and follow that into a bit of confidence into the next match.
“I’m always pumped to play at home, Central Coast Stadium for me - I’m a little bit biased - but it’s unreal, and I absolutely love it.
“I think it’s the best stadium in the A-League.
“It’s always good to play in front of your home crowd, I think that’s the thing most of the boys are pumped about this week."