You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

City give Jakobsen another weekend off

NZN 4/03/2017 Emma Kemp

Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis hopes Michael Jakobsen will be fit to return to A-League action in a fortnight, as he wraps the key defender in cotton wool ahead of the season's business end.

Jakobsen was named in this week's extended squad to travel to the Central Coast on Sunday but was then ruled out for a fourth consecutive game as he continues to struggle with a niggling a calf injury.

City have next week off as part of a split round, and Valkanis said his Danish centre-back would benefit from further recovery with the aim of playing against Newcastle on March 18.

"We have to make sure with Jako that he's 100 per cent," Valkanis said.

"We can't take risks with Michael, we can't afford to lose a player like him going into the finals.

"He's an important part of our defence and starting XI.

"He's one of the best defenders in the A-League, an experienced player with a lot of leadership qualities.

"Fingers crossed he's back for the Newcastle game."

Fourth-placed City are locked in a battle with Perth and Brisbane for two top-four spots and will be keen to avoid a slip up in Gosford.

Inconsistency has plagued the much-vaunted side and while their 5-1 rout of Wellington was undone by defeat to Sydney FC last week, there were encouraging signs prior to Manny Muscat's dismissal.

Youngster Ruon Tongyik will replace suspended Muscat in central defence as City aim to foil a Mariners side that gave them a scare on New Year's Eve and are still in contention for the top six.

"It's going to be an interesting affair because they're a team that wants to play as well," Valkanis said.

"We want the ball, they want the ball, and for us it's very important that we dominate and control the game.

"The more dominant team will win the arm wrestle."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* City are undefeated in their last five games against the Mariners (W4, D1), scoring an average of 3.2 goals per outing

* City have won just once from nine visits to Central Coast Stadium (D2, L6)

* Mariners striker Roy O'Donovan has scored in his last two games against City

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon