Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi will give Harry Kewell plenty of opportunity to recover for tomorrow’s Hyundai A-League match, as his captain races against time to front up against Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park tomorrow.
Kewell is rated a ‘50-50’ chance to recover from a case of whiplash in time for tomorrow’s 5.30pm kick-off, after being struck on the back of the head by a Pablo Contreras clearance in the Round One Melbourne derby.
“[He's] still struggling a little bit,” Aloisi said.
“We are going to leave it until the last minute and give him a fitness test tomorrow morning and see if he’s okay.
“We saw some good signs of Harry last week and it’d be nice to get him out on the pitch because he means a lot to us.”
Aloisi is confident in his squad depth to cover for the skipper if required.
“We’ve got a lot of fire power; we’ve still got Golgol [Mebrahtu] and David Williams,” Aloisi said.
“Iain Ramsay scored seven goals for Adelaide last year and Mate Dugandzic the year before last scored seven goals. We’ve got quite a few goal scorers and we are confident they can get them for us.”
Turning his thoughts to tomorrow’s opponents, Aloisi is expecting a close encounter against the defending champions.
“[It’s a] big challenge. I think it’s going to be a good and tight game because they’re defensively well organised and they are always hard to play against, but we’ll see how much we have improved from last season when we come up against them tomorrow,” Aloisi said.
Aloisi has also taken some positives out of last weekend’s derby and is hoping his squad can display the same qualities tomorrow afternoon.
“We thought that the boys defensively worked really well and it wasn’t just the back four; it was the whole team,” Aloisi said.
Despite the Mariners having an edge over the Red and White in recent occasions, Aloisi is confident his side can achieve a result in their first home game of the 2013-14 season.
“We play quite well against the Mariners; we match up well against them” Aloisi said.
“The onus is on us [to attack] but we can’t get frustrated and start playing balls that aren’t on. We have to be patient, wait for the right opening, keep the ball moving quickly and see if we can cause them problems when we do get into their half.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to do that because we’ve got players – even though there will be less space in behind – in tight areas that can do a good job.”
The 2013 Victorian Premier League Grand Final will take place as a curtain-raiser to tomorrow’s Hyundai A-League match at AAMI Park and will kick off at 1pm.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Melbourne Heart v Central Coast Mariners
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 5:30pm AEDT
Referee: Ben Williams
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Barreiro
Fourth Official: Alex Azcurra
TV Broadcast: 5.30pm (AEDT) Live and exclusive coverage on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sports 2 (New Zealand).
Radio Broadcast: 5.30pm (AEDT) Live coverage on ABC 774 Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Victoria, 92.5 ABC Central Coast, Grandstand Digital Melbourne and Online/Mobile phone app
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MHTvCCM
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Melbourne Heart FC Squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 10. Harry KEWELL (Captain), 14. Golgol MEBRAHTU, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 18. David VRANKOVIC, 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 21. Stefan MAUK , 22. Nick KALMAR, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 25. Andrea MIGLIORINI (Two to be omitted)
Ins: 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO (returns from international duty), 21. Stefan MAUK (returns from international duty)
Outs: 2. Jeremy WALKER, 5. Sam MITCHINSON, 11. Michael MIFSUD
Unavailable: 4. Orlando ENGELAAR (Fractured tibia – long-term), 9. Dylan MACALLISTER (Hamstring – 3-6 weeks), 13. Jonatan GERMANO (Hamstring – two weeks)
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (GK), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Marcos FLORES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (GK), 13. Hayden MORTON, 15. Storm ROUX, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Anthony CACERES, 18. Michael NEILL, 19. Matt SIMON, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (two to be omitted)
Ins: 13. Hayden MORTON, 18. Michael NEILL
Unavailable: 2. Daniel MCBREEN (On loan at Shanghai SIPG until October 31), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (International Duty, New Zealand All Whites), 23. Adam KWASNIK (Groin – 1 week)