Melbourne Heart FC’s high performance staff has given the squad a clean bill of health ahead of the side’s crucial match-up with Sydney FC at AAMI Park this Saturday.
Melbourne Heart FC-s high performance staff has given the squad a clean bill of health ahead of the side-s crucial match-up with Sydney FC at AAMI Park this Saturday.
With finals football on the line, Head Coach John van ‘t Schip will have the luxury of a full squad available for selection as he looks to guide Heart to a season defining triumph over the Sky Blues.
While Heart has previously recorded victories regarded paradigm shifting, it would scarcely be an overstatement to describe its upcoming encounter as the most critical in Club history.
Van ‘t Schip and his team entered the current campaign with a single mandate; to better last season-s efforts and secure a debut Hyundai A-League finals berth.
Though that target was somewhat obscured by Heart-s extraordinary run in November and December, claiming seven victories from eight matches, internally at least, the goal of simply reaching the top six remained constant.
Overtures to the contrary were roundly ignored, and while the squad naturally dreamed of what was possible, the predominant thought was to ward off any premature designs of a title charge, and remain on course.
Such an approach proved virtuous and beneficial during a rough patch in January, where level heads ultimately prevailed during circumstances whence others may have been derailed.
And now, on the back of a four-match unbeaten run overall, and five matches without defeat at home, Heart appears on track for a late surge, demonstrating glimpses of the all-action style which powered it to memorable triumphs over Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
Although indecisiveness in the final third ultimately proved costly last weekend, denying Heart two points it surely deserved, van ‘t Schip is likely to keep faith with the starting side performing so admirably in recent weeks.
Lumbering goal scorer Eli Babalj remains Heart-s focal point in attack, pairing neatly with the skilful, ever dangerous Mate Dugandzic, while wiry Brazilian dynamo Fred is clearly the side-s fulcrum, a kinetic hub of seemingly endless, boundless creativity and vision, alongside Matt Thompson and Jonatan Germano.
Full backs Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone will provide width in attack, as the central pairing of Curtis Good and Simon Colosimo appears certain to continue their partnership, providing cover for stellar glovesman Clint Bolton, who in the twilight of his career, appears to have reached his zenith.
The identity of the eleventh member of Heart-s starting side is poised to be dependent on van ‘t Schip-s preferred tactical shape, and whether he opts for a 4-3-3, 3-4-3, or the 4-4-2 styled formation which yielded a strong performance against Wellington Phoenix.