Melbourne City FC utility Osama Malik believes Friday night’s showdown with former side Adelaide United holds added significance, as the Club endeavours to build momentum ahead of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
John van’t Schip’s side sit four points adrift of competition pace-setters Adelaide in fourth position and travel to South Australia in a positive mood, after Bruno Fornaroli’s record-breaking treble secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Sydney FC.
With only five matches remaining, a win against an in-form Reds outfit – who are unbeaten in their last 14 league fixtures – will keep City within touching distance the top of the table; an objective which Malik acknowledged is firmly in his side's thoughts as the regular season draws to its conclusion.
“You don’t always want to be looking at the table but it’s hard to ignore it considering we only have five games to go and this league is so tight,” he said.
“A win and you can move up a lot of places and if you lose points then you give yourself a bit to do. We know what we have to do there and hopefully we can go well and get three points.
“If I’m being honest there was a lot made about the start Adelaide had (winless after eight games), but I didn’t think the team was playing particularly badly.
“At the moment, it just seems as if everything is going their way and to be fair they’re playing well. But we’re there and we’ve got the quality to go there and do well.”
Malik is set to face former side for the first time since making the switch to City in the January transfer window and after playing 88 matches for the Reds over five seasons, the Adelaide-born midfielder isn't displaying any signs of nerves ahead of a return to his home town.
“Not at all to be honest. Obviously leaving there about six weeks ago, it’s always going to be a bit funny playing in front of friends and family and against the team you played with for long time,” he said.
“For us it is a massive game. They’re top of the ladder and we’re fourth at the moment. A win and we can really move up the table, so it’s exciting.”