Melbourne City will use their rescheduled game against Newcastle as a chance to to build sharpness and chemistry ahead of their A-League finals campaign.
Melbourne City are treating their rescheduled game against Newcastle as a blessing in disguise ahead of their A-League finals campaign.
City travel to Sydney on Wednesday to face the Jets at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium for a game rescheduled and relocated amid Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown.
While missing out on part of the time off earned as a top-two finisher, City will relish the chance to build chemistry after losing Jamie Maclaren, Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe to Socceroos duties.
"In some ways it probably played into our hands. I think we're trying to use the positive side to it," veteran Rostyn Griffiths said.
"Sometimes that week off can delay the momentum.
"At the moment, obviously with a bit of a mixed squad and a changed squad with a few players away, it's allowing us actually to work on things that we're trying to take into the final series.
"So in some ways it's worked out better for us to be honest.
"Even playing it on Thursday night ... it gives us a full eight-day turnaround before we have to play again for the semi."
After testing out players in recent games against Wellington, Brisbane and Melboure Victory, coach Patrick Kisnorbo planned to use the game to further build ahead of finals.
"(For us it's) an opportunity to play another game and work on some things that need to be worked on," Kisnorbo said.
"Improve some things that we need to improve on and build from there."
Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson have been named to return from their respective serious adductor and hamstring injuries but Craig Noone (soreness) won't travel.
Kisnorbo was cautious on Nabbout's prospects of featuring against the Jets but Griffiths noted his teammate looked as fit and sharp as he'd been and his rehabilitation efforts so far had been "superhuman."
The Jets can avoid the wooden spoon and hand it to Melbourne Victory with either a draw or win.
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos will return from a calf injury to replace fellow striker Valentino Yuel who has been called up for national team duty with South Sudan.