Despite only just touching down from Dubai hours ago, Jamie Maclaren and Mathew Leckie are in the running to feature in Melbourne City’s A-League Men’s season opener against Brisbane Roar.
The City attacking duo were both part of Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad for the last round of World Cup qualifiers and although both featured in Wednesday morning’s clash against China, City boss Patrick Kisnorbo is expecting, should they get through training, to be available tomorrow night.
Maclaren and Leckie’s return provides a major boost to City’s already stacked front-line who are also set to welcome back Andrew Nabbout after the forward was released early from international duty following the Saudi Arabia contest.
“Everyone’s available,” Kisnorbo told reporters on Thursday.
“He (Maclaren) flies in today, we will have a training session and we will see how they pull up,
“Macca and Lecks (Leckie), we won’t know until they get in today so we will see how they pull up before and after training and we will make a decision.”
Should Leckie be available, it will mean the former Hertha Berlin winger will make his highly-anticipated club debut after missing their FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against South Melbourne last Friday.
Meanwhile, Maclaren last featured against City’s opponents this weekend, Brisbane late last season before jetting off for international duty in June – which saw him miss their entire finals series along with first-team regulars Connor Metcalfe and Curtis Good.
Tomorrow also marks the first-time the reigning champions set foot on their home-deck since taking home the Championship just under five months ago.
Kisnorbo acknowledged how big of an occasion it is for their supporters but also said his side aren’t getting caught up in the external noise surrounding them being favourites for the ‘toilet seat’ and going from the hunters to the hunted.
“I think it’s great for the people in Melbourne and our supporters,” Kisnorbo said.
“Not just our supporters but for football lovers in general. It’s going to be a great occasion tomorrow and we’re lucky enough to play at our home stadium,
“The expectations for our players is to train hard everyday and that’s my expectations for the players to train hard. I can’t control anything, what people say, we don’t pay attention to that. We just concentrate on the day. Whatever happens at the end – it happens,
“We have to be better at things and improve on things that we didn’t do as well as last season. There’s always room for improvement in every area. We need to push harder.”
Italian import Manuel Pucciarelli is also in contention to make his club debut after missing the Cup contest last week.
Photo credit: AAP