Big Jets crowd to bring out City’s best: Malik
Osama Malik believes the big home crowd behind the Newcastle Jets in Friday night’s Hyundai A-League semi-final will bring out the best in Melbourne City.
More than 25,000 fans are expected to be inside McDonald Jones Stadium to try and get the Jets into their first Hyundai A-League decider in 10 years.
But City are hoping to spoil the party and have a great record in the Hunter, winning both games there this season.
And while the Jets will look to use the boisterous support as their ’12th-man on Friday night, Malik feels it might work in his side’s favour.
“It’s more exciting to be honest. The more noise there is, you don’t really take in individual insults,” the versatile City star said on Tuesday.
“Where you might [hear the insults] if there’s fewer people. It will be nice to play in front of a big crowd.
“We’ve beaten them [Jets] twice over there which is always a tough place to go,” Malik added.
“It’s going to be a different game this week, it’s make-or-break and there will be a big crowd there so it’s going to be a big game.”
After being a regular in the team for the first two thirds of the season, injury disrupted Malik’s appearances in the back-half of the campaign.
But with skipper Michael Jakobsen missing the last two games through injury (thigh), the 27-year-old has returned in the last fortnight in the heart of defence.
And he might be called upon in that position again after Jakobsen finished Tuesday’s session early, meaning the Dane is in some doubt to line-up on Friday night.
"There's still some hope he'll be part of the squad," Malik said of Jakobsen.
"He's a very important player for us. Even if he's not playing he's important to have around.
"He's a leader in our team and I'm sure he'll play some role."
City is aiming to qualify for their first-ever Hyundai A-League decider
“It’s not something we have spoken about too much,” Malik said.
“I don’t think we have ever finished higher than third and we did that this year so it’s not the first time we have done something for the first time this year.
“If we focus on the things we’ve done well the last few weeks we’ll be fine.”