Melbourne City head coach Erick Mombaerts admits ‘it is one option’ to replace Uruguayan import Javier Cabrera with a new overseas signing.
Cabrera has played nine Hyundai A-League games, starting seven and scoring one goal, since joining City from hometown club Montevideo Wanderers in the off-season.
It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that the 27-year-old winger wants a return to his native South America, paving the way for City to move for New Zealand international Marco Rojas to fill the vacant visa spot.
Former Victory flyer Rojas can operate in a similar wide, attacking role as Cabrera does, and the 28-year-old has been recently released by his Danish club SønderjyskE.
Mombaerts did not deny the speculation in his pre-match media conference and admitted City may consider drafting in a like-for-like replacement if Cabrera departs.
“I’m disappointed, I can’t answer too much on this question,” Mombaerts said. “It is one option.
“It is one option to substitute Javi [Cabrera] because we want to find a similar player.
“It is one option but we also have some other option.”
Cabrera leads the team in assists and chances created per game in 2019/20
City return to Queensland to face Brisbane Roar on Saturday for the first time since they squandered a 3-1 lead with half an hour remaining to lose 4-3 to Robbie Fowler’s side back in Round 6.
Mombaerts confirmed Richard Windbichler will miss out with a muscle injury sustained against Western United, while Cabrera is not available for the game, although Lachlan Wales returns to the match-day squad.
“In the first half against Brisbane [in Round 6] we played really well,” Mombaerts said.
“We broke easily their block. We created a lot of good chances.
“We scored two, but the last minutes we didn’t play well. They played direct and we struggle in this kind of play.
“But it’s another game so I hope we will be better. The conditions to play maybe different, maybe hot, [on Saturday].”
Mombaerts concedes his side have difficulties dealing with the long ball and revealed he will try to stop Roar using a similar tactic by pressing high up the field at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
“In stat index, maybe they have possession more than us,” Mombaerts said.
“The first options is to have more possession. Maybe if we have the ball, it’s better for us. We try to have possession.
“If they play more direct as they played [in Round 6] – but it was windy – we struggled.
“But we can organise to allow them to play more direct so we will try to press higher.”
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Kick off: 4pm local, 5pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets
Saturday, 18 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT