March 10, 2015 14:27:15 UK
James Brown is set to return for Melbourne City’s trip to Western Sydney Wanderers, where Socceroo Josh Kennedy will be rested.
City went into the first of three consecutive games against the bottom three at the weekend looking to bank plenty of points and help their Finals Series bid.
But after they failed to fire in a 1-0 defeat to struggling Central Coast Mariners – who had sacked their coach just two days before the game – they are in need of a lift at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday.
The trip to take on Tony Popovic’s side and then Saturday’s home game against Newcastle Jets will pit City against two teams who have only won once all season, from a combined 38 games.
The defeat in Gosford proved costly for John van’t Schip’s men, who surrendered their place in the top six.
Brisbane Roar’s victory against the Wanderers on Sunday pushed them above City by a point, and they have a game in hand. Melbourne City are 5/4 to finish in the top six.
We really need to go out and win this game.
City, who have stayed in NSW as they prepare to take on Western Sydney, have sent for Brown and Jack Clisby as potential reinforcements.
Brown is available again after being out of action with a knee injury since the Asian Cup break.
Midfielder Erik Paartalu admitted the side were disappointed by their performance against the Mariners. “We probably didn’t turn up on the weekend and that was frustrating,” he said. “Regardless of who we’re playing, it’s all about the reaction now.
“It sounds pretty cliched, but we’ve been that team who has been pretty up and down all season. We really need to go out and win this game and then come back to Melbourne and try to win the next home game against Newcastle.”
City are 3.75 to beat Western Sydney, who are 3.50 with the draw 23/10.
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