July 19, 2015 12:08:55 UK
Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip will intensify his search for a new striker after seeing his side spurn golden chances in their 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
There were positives for the A-League side in their display against their “big brothers”, with Van ‘t Schip singling out Harry Novillo for praise.
The Dutchman knows he needs a reliable target man ahead of the new league season, though.
We’re looking for that position and we know we have to get a player there that can help us make the next step.
John van’t Schip
It’s not a new problem – City only managed 36 goals in their 27 games last season and had a negative goal difference despite finishing in the top half of the table.
Novillo, Stefan Mauk, Wade Dekker and George Lambadaridis all missed good chances before Samir Nasri scored the only goal of the game for the Premier League side.
City are 9.00 to win the A-League Grand Final.
Talking of his striker search, Van ‘t Schip said: “That’s one of the main things we’re still working on. We’re looking for that position and we know we have to get a player there that can help us make the next step.”
City, who suffered a blow when Socceroo Josh Kennedy announced last month he was retiring from the game, have been linked with Georgios Samaras after his release by West Bromwich Albion.
Van ‘t Schip isn’t commenting on speculation linking the club with the former Celtic striker or Uruguayan forward Bruno Fornaroli.
One of the signings he has made in the off-season is Novillo, who spent the second half of the season with the club as an injury replacement signing but is now on a permanent deal.
The coach was impressed with the 23-year-old, who forced Willy Caballero into a fingertip save and later shot just wide.
“Harry is a very strong player with individual talent,” said Van ‘t Schip. “He can outplay his opponent and he has qualities with his free-kicks and shooting so the people love him.
“He’s a special player and I think he’s getting stronger and stronger, he’s getting used to the team and getting used to the league and he’s happy with us.”
Melbourne City are 2.90 to win their first game of the A-League season against Sydney FC, who are 2.20 with the draw 3.40.
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