Melbourne Victory defender Tim Hoogland is excited about the prospect of finally being able to conclude the A-League season, but he'd just rather not have to go into a hub to do so.
After much delay, the A-League today revealed its plans to conclude the 2019/20 season – 27 games set to be packed into less than a month and mainly played in New South Wales.
The competition – suspended in March in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic – is set to restart on July 16 with a Melbourne Derby between Melbourne Victory and Western United. That fixture will likely take place behind-closed-doors at AAMI Park, however, that is yet to be confirmed due to Melbourne's covid-19 spike.
Aside from a fixture between Melbourne City and Western United four days later, which is also likely to be staged at AAMI, future fixtures involving Melbourne sides from that point are uncertain.
Victory are pencilled in to play three games – against Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Perth Glory – at Bankwest Stadium following their opener against Western United on the released schedule, with another fixture against Central Coast Mariners currently marked as TBC.
Whether the club is forced into a hub format to play those fixtures, or whether they will be able to fly in and fly out, remains unclear, with Hoogland revealing on Wednesday that he was just as in the dark as A-League fans.
“Yeah, I’m fit and it’s a really good feeling to know that the fixtures are out now,” he said.
“You never know what’s happening next, there’s still a bit of uncertainty with if we have to go to a hub or fly in and fly out. We’ll see what’s going on.
“I really don’t want to go to a hub because my family is here, I don’t want to leave my family all alone for a couple of weeks.
"I’d be really pleased with something without hubs, us being based in Victoria. We have to see what the A-League is deciding and then we have to see.”
One of the A-League’s most heralded recruits heading into the 19/20 season, Hoogland has battled a nightmare run of soft-tissue injuries throughout his first season in Australia – restricted to just six appearances and five starts.