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Jakobsen no certainty for Melb City return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017 Ben McKay

Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis has stopped short of guaranteeing Michael Jakobsen's return to A-League action in Friday night's clash with Western Sydney.

The Danish centre-back is seen as a key part of City's title charge but hasn't been seen on the pitch for seven weeks with a calf complaint.

The severity of the injury has surprised City, which originally pulled Jakobsen out of a squad on match day, before grading the injury as worthy of one week's absence.

But each week since February's Melbourne derby loss to the Victory, when Jakobsen was forced off with the injury at half-time, he has failed to appear on a City teamsheet.

In the aftermath of City's 4-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, Valkanis insisted internationally-experienced 31-year-old Jakobsen would play against the Wanderers at Spotless Stadium.

At long last, Jakobsen is travelling with the team for the match but on Thursday Valkanis left himself wiggle room to exclude Jakobsen once more.

"Michael is training up there with us today and we'll see how he pulls up after training," Valkanis told reporters.

"It's good to have him back in the squad. It's also very important to make sure he maintains his position in the squad coming up to some very big games.

"Together with the medical staff we'll make a decision."

City are gunning for a third-straight win, a feat they haven't achieved since March last year.

Valkanis said the match against the Wanderers - which on current ladder positions is an elimination final preview - was crucial in terms of momentum but wouldn't be a walkover.

"The way (Western Sydney) play football, they dominate and we don't like to be playing against teams that dominate the game," he said.

"We want to keep the ball. That's the way we train and that's the way we play."

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