Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has named returning Australian Under 23 stars Aziz Behich, Jason Hoffman and Mate Dugandzic in an extended 19-man squad for Sunday’s match against the Central Coast Mariners.
Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has named returning Australian Under 23 stars Aziz Behich, Jason Hoffman and Mate Dugandzic in an extended 19-man squad for Sunday-s match against the Central Coast Mariners.
The trio return to Melbourne today after the Australian Under 23-s bid for a place in the London 2012 Olympic Games came to an end at the hands of Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Featuring in both matches over in West Asia, Behich, Hoffman and Dugandzic were among the Green and Gold-s leading lights, but with their Olympic dreams now dashed, will turn their attention to aiding Heart in its quest to secure a debut Hyundai A-League Finals Series berth.
After breaking through for its first win of 2012 with a 1-0 triumph over Gold Coast United last week, Heart-s bid to reach the top six is now back on track, with the league leading Central Coast Mariners looming as next on the agenda.
While the Mariners will unquestionably prove a difficult proposition for the home side, John van ‘t Schip-s men will no doubt be confident in their ability to obtain a result over the Hyundai A-League-s front runners.
A dominant performance in January yielded little for Heart, with a 1-0 defeat all the side had to show for a display which deserved infinitely more, while the Melbourne team succumbed to a 1-3 defeat over in Gosford late last year in a contest much closer than the score line suggested.
And with van ‘t Schip boasting a full squad to choose from following the return of Kristian Sarkies from a calf injury, competition for places is likely to be intense, forcing the entire playing group to elevate its game to another plane.
Midfielder Matt Thompson is on track to play a larger role this weekend, with his inclusion in the starting eleven expected after successfully navigating through his return last week, while Club Captain Fred recovered well despite playing 90 minutes for the first time in over two months.
Melbourne Heart FC Squad v Central Coast Mariners
1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Brendan HAMILL, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. FRED (c), 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 11. ALEX TERRA, 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 18. Curtis GOOD, 19. Eli BABALJ, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 26. Paul REID, 27. Craig GOODWIN, 30. Sebastian MATTEI (gk) *four to be omitted.
In: 16. Aziz BEHICH (Returns from Qantas U23's), 17. Jason HOFFMAN (Returns from Qantas U23's), 18. Curtis GOOD (Returns from suspension), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (Returns from Qantas U23's)