The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will be aiming to make up ground in the top six when they take on Melbourne City on Friday night at AAMI Park.
Following last week’s 1-1 result against Perth, the Wanderers are on a streak of three consecutive draws and will be hoping for a change in fortune against an unpredictable City outfit.
Although a last-minute Bruno Fornaroli penalty salvaged a point for City against the Central Coast Mariners last week, they now gone winless since their Westfield FFA Cup triumph in November.
City will also be contending with the shock resignation of coach John van’t Schip, who has returned to Europe for family reasons. Assistant coach Michael Valkanis will take the helm in the interim.
Meanwhile Tony Popovic has named new signings Terry Antonis and Vedran Janjetovic to the squad for the first time.
The Red & Black will also welcome back Scott Neville and Steven Lustica from injury but will be without skipper Dimas and leading scorer Brendon Santalab through suspension.
Friday’s game will mark the second league fixture between the pair this season following Round 7’s 1-1 draw at Spotless Stadium.
That night a Neil Kilkenny own-goal cancelled out Tim Cahill’s opener in what was an end-to-end contest in Sydney’s West.
Indeed, this is a fixture that has seen plenty of goals in its short history, with 14 goals being scored in the last three clashes.
Melbourne City vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 6 January, 7:50pm
TV: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 and SBS VICELAND
Radio: ABC Grandstand, Hawkesbury Radio
Online: Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvWSW
Melbourne City FC Squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Josh ROSE (promoted), 2.Manny MUSCAT (promoted), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (returns from injury), 6.Osama MALIK (returns from injury)
Outs: 34.Denis GENREAU (omitted), 4.Connor CHAPMAN (omitted)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season), 27.Fernando BRANDAN (suspended - 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC Squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS (c), 7. Steven LUSTICA, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Artiz BORDA, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT, 24. Terry ANTONIS, 42.Keanu BACCUS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7. Steven LUSTICA (promoted), 12.Scott NEVILLE (promoted), 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (new signing), 24. Terry ANTONIS (new signing)
Outs: 8.DIMAS (suspended – 1 match), 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (released)
Unavailable: 2.Shannon COLE (injured - 1 week), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (suspended – 2 matches)