April 17, 2015 11:44:30 UK
Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy headlines a group of five Melbourne City players who will miss Sunday’s clash with Perth Glory at nib Stadium.
Kennedy is being rested from the penultimate game of the regular season after reporting stiffness following last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix. He is set to return for the final round trip to Adelaide United.
Jacob Melling and Kew Jaliens are both out through suspension, having picked up eight yellow cards each.
Mate Dugandzic (knee) and Safuwan Baharudin (back) will also miss the game, which has little riding on it as City have secured their Finals Series place while Perth have been banned from post-season.
Coach John van ‘t Schip has drafted Stefan Mauk into his squad for the trip, along with Marc Marino and youth team player Nick Symeoy.
Perth are 2.40 to beat Melbournce City, who are 2.75 with the draw 3.50.
Speaking of the decision to rest Kennedy ahead of the final game of the season, van ‘t Schip said: “Josh had general stiffness after the game (against Wellington), a bit more than he had in previous games.
“We didn’t want to take the risk now with the long flight and then going to Adelaide and then the finals so we just want to prepare him with a good week of training and make sure he’s prepared for Adelaide.”
Unbeaten in five games, City will secure fifth spot in the table if they beat the Glory or if Brisbane Roar fail to beat Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Perth abandoned their appeal against their finals suspension and fine for breaching the salary cap on Wednesday and will face a tough task to lift themselves.
The Glory found out last Friday what their punishment would be from Football Federation Australia, and lost 3-0 at home to Sydney FC hours later.
Van ‘t Schip said: “They could come out there and want to give their home crowd something back after what happened last week. We have to go out there and think about ourselves; it’s the only way we can control those other things.”
Melbourne City are 4.33 to beat Perth Glory by a one-goal margin.
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