Melbourne City FC will have the chance to go top of the A-League table for the first time this season when it plays Sydney FC on Saturday evening.
A combination of a slow start to the season and being a couple of games behind the rest of the pack has ensured a slow but steady climb up the table over the last couple of months for City.
This has been led by a scintillating run of for in which the team has won seven of its past eight fixtures.
A Club record winning run of six games was broken with a loss to Western United last Thursday, but it took just a few days for City to get back on the winners list, taking down Wellington on Monday night.
Phoenix equalised after both Curtis Good’s opener and Jamie Maclaren’s late left-foot strike, but Patrick Kisnorbo’s 80th minute subs changed the game.
Stefan Colakovski and Marco Tilio were the ones who entered the pitch for City and both immediately caused issues for the tiring Wellington defence.
Both players were involved in the winner, Colakovski winning the ball back before Tilio headed home Connor Metcalfe’s cross from close range to secure the win and his first goal for the Club.
That was Metcalfe’s second assist of what was an outstanding performance from the 21-year-old who continues to go from strength to strength this season.
Having already scored a brace when back in Round 9 against Sydney FC, Jamie Maclaren could be on track for a history making night on Friday.
He currently sits on 92 career A-League goals, equal second all-time with Shane Smeltz. With the form he’s displayed this season, there is a very good chance he could hold that spot outright by the time the referee blows full time on Saturday night.
One concern for Kisnorbo may be his defence. After having recorded four clean sheets in a row, City has conceded five goals over its past three fixtures.
That being said, his team have averaged 29 shots per game across that same period, so there are plenty of chances being created up the other end of the pitch, but there’s no doubt another clean sheet would be a welcome sight.
Nathaniel Atkinson is the big omission from City's squad, with the defender injuring his hamstring in Monday's win against Wellington.
Defenders Kerrin Stokes and Alec Mills have both been promoted to the squad for this fixture and attacker Raphael Borges Rodrigues has also been added.
Melbourne City FC squad
1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nuno REIS, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 11.Craig NOONE, 14.Naoki TSUBAKI, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Taras GOMULKA, 17.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 18.Connor METCALFE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Adrian LUNA, 22.Curtis GOOD, 23.Marco TILIO, 33.Matthew SUTTON (gk), 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36.Kerrin STOKES, 43.Alec MILLS.
**2 to be omitted**
In: 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES (promoted), 36.Kerrin STOKES (promoted), 43.Alec MILLS (promoted).
Out: 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON (hamstring).
Unavailable: 3.Scott JAMIESON (calf), 8.Aiden O’NEILL (back), 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON (hamstring).
What was said?
"We’ll need to tighten up a bit in transition. Over our winning run at home we were able to keep a few clean sheets which was built on our defensive pressure across the pitch, so getting back to that will be a big focus."
A-League - Round 16
Sydney FC v Melbourne City FC
Saturday 10 April, 5.05pm kick-off