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Glory game a six-pointer as City look to rebound

Joyce will have to reshuffle his pack once again following an injury to holding midfielder Osama Malik, clattered by the Mariners’ former City player Jacob Melling early in the game.

Attacking midfielder Dario Vidosic will also miss out with a back injury, while back-up goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, who sustained an injury in the warm-up before City’s win over Brisbane last Friday, will have to pass a fitness test to be included.

Perth Glory will provide Melbourne City with a stern challenge.

Perth Glory will provide Melbourne City with a stern challenge.Credit:AAP

However, defender Harrison Delbridge will return from suspension, while French midfielder Florin Berenguer, who returned from a six-week injury lay-off with a cameo off the bench in Gosford, will also figure again, most likely as a substitute.

”Osama Malik definitely won’t play. He got smashed by Melling. I was amazed that nothing was done, it looked like intent … he knew what he was doing,” Joyce said on Friday.

”I thought Florin was good considering how little he has done, he has worked hard with physios … I thought he was bright.

”He has worked his socks off running. He has worked hard but he has done minimal football stuff.”

Bruno Fornaroli (centre) is still on the outer.

Bruno Fornaroli (centre) is still on the outer.Credit:AAP

City lacked a cutting edge against the Mariners; despite that, there seems no way back for Fornaroli.

Asked if he might be considered again, Joyce’s response was succinct: ”No.”

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Asked if there had been interest for Fornaroli, Joyce said: ”Not that I know of, no. But I don’t deal with that side of things”.

Moves are being made to sign a replacement for former winger Michael O’Halloran, who returned to Scotland earlier this month.

”There are limited resources, a small amount of money, we are utilising that to bring in someone who can help now and in the future,” the coach said.

Joyce’s experiment of pushing defender Ritchie De Laet up to centre forward has had mixed results.

It worked well against Brisbane, where the Belgian scored the only goal of the match, but was not as effective against the Mariners where he did not come close to getting on target.

On the prospect of facing Perth in a game he admitted was a six-pointer, Joyce said: ”You relish it. If you are a player and manager you want to play games and take the challenge of being an underdog against the team that’s top of the league.”

Michael Lynch, The Age’s expert on soccer, has had extensive experience of high level journalism in the UK and Australia. Michael has covered the Socceroos through Asia, Europe and South America in their past three World Cup campaigns. He has also reported on Grands Prix and top class motor sport from Asia and Europe. He has won several national media awards for both sports and industry journalism.

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