Melbourne City Women's FC head coach Joe Montemurro is predicting a difficult assignment this afternoon as his side hosts two-time Westfield W-League Champions Brisbane Roar.
City will return to CB Smith Reserve for the second consecutive week after going eight points clear at the top-of-the-table last Saturday, defeating a stubborn Adelaide United 2-0 in front of a healthy crowd.
Despite sitting fifth on the Westfield W-league table with two wins and two losses respectively, Brisbane boasts one of the most impressive lists in the competition.
Matildas co-captain Claire Polkinghorne anchors an up-and-coming back four while fellow Australian internationals Katrina Gorry and Tameka Butt will spearhead a talented midfield.
“They are a very good team,” Montemurro said.
“They are well organised and have quality players and I expect a very tough match.”
“Preparations have been good and the standard’s high,” Montemurro said discussing the last week in training.
“We are very focussed on our plan and want to continue to play our brand of football.”
The high-flying City will however have to make do without co-captains Jess Fishlock and Lisa De Vanna.
Fishlock is away on international duty with the Welsh national team while, De Vanna is serving the second week of a two-match suspension.
Sixteen-year-old Melina Ayres has been promoted to the squad as cover with Montemurro explaining the confidence in his team’s depth.
Quality players of this nature are always missed,” he said.
“We have worked hard this year to stamp a base on how we want to play. I am confident that the replacements will do what is required for us to perform well.”
Aivi Luik is expected to wear the armband in the absence of De Vanna and Fishlock, while Montemurro has retained Scottish imports Jen Beattie and Kim Little ahead of next week’s international fixtures.
A win could see Melbourne City enter next week’s bye 11 points clear of the competition but Montemurro conceded his side weren’t looking too far ahead.
“Every game is taken on merit and we will go out to perform to our maximum," he said.
“We never go out to think about the next week. It's important we focus on what is going to be a very difficult assignment against a very good Brisbane team.”
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Sunday 22 November 2015
C.B. Smith Reserve, Fawkner, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 2pm
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Melbourne City squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk), 3. Alex Chidiac, 4. Jennifer Beattie, 5. Laura Alleway, 6. Aivi Luik, 7. Stephanie Catley, 8. Kim Little, 9. Larissa Crummer, 13. Rebekah Stott, 14. Melina Ayres, 15. Amy Jackson, 16. Beattie Goad, 17. Marianna Tabain, 20. Trudy Burke (gk)
Ins: Melina Ayres (promoted)
Outs: Jess Fishlock (international duty)
Unavailable: Monique Iannella (knee – indefinite), Lisa De Vanna (suspended – 1 week)