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City ponder player mix for A-League, Cup

NZN 25/11/2016 Ben McKay

There's a buzz in the air at Melbourne City and a spring in the step of John van 't Schip's players as they prepare for one of the biggest weeks in the A-League club's history.

Sandwiched between home A-League games against Wellington on Sunday and Brisbane is the club's first final - the FFA Cup decider against Sydney on Wednesday night.

It's good news then that City have a season-best availability list with the return to fitness of Argentinian marquee Nicolas Colazo.

The left-sided attacker survived an hour in the National Youth League last weekend after a perforated ear-drum laid him out for a month.

Van 't Schip said a starting berth for Colazo against the Nix wasn't out of the question.

"He came out well, played well, trained all week so there is no problem," he said.

"He will be having a part on Sunday, and then we'll decide for the rest of the week. Sunday for sure he's going to be in."

The Dutchman reported Osama Malik was likely to miss the Phoenix match, but return later in the week.

With plenty of bodies to choose from, come great questions for van 't Schip.

Does in-form winger Fernando Brandan shift inside, or does Bruce Kamau lose his spot for Colazo?

Will Tim Cahill benefit more from Colazo's wicked left-footed crosses in a more advanced role alongside Bruno Fornaroli?

Does fit-again Josh Rose resume at right-back for Ivan Franjic, and does van 't Schip utilise Connor Chapman in defence?

The answers to these quandries will be different against the Nix, Sydney and Brisbane.

"We try to look at all kinds of things. The most important thing is the next game," van 't Schip said.

"For us now, Wellington is the next one. We think we're putting the team onto the pitch that is the best for this game and when it's over we'll look at the next one."

Wellington has already hosted City this season, losing 1-0 despite Thomas Sorensen's second-half red card.

The Nix will be boosted by the addition of five internationals that didn't play in that round one match, with van 't Schip suggesting City must contain the speed of Roy Krishna and trickiness of Kosta Barbarouses.

"If we can play our game, they're going to look for balls behind our defence and that's where he's dangerous," he said.

"We have to avoid that."

STATS THAT MATTER

* City have won four of their last five over Wellington.

* The Phoenix are looking to win three games in a row for the first time in 20 months.

* Fijian flyer Roy Krishna has scored four goals in his last three fixtures, assisting for another goal in their last-start win over Central Coast in Canberra.

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