After a decade of mediocrity, Melbourne City will finally play in an A-League grand final but the club's long-suffering fans won't be there.
Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts feels for long-suffering supporters who can't attend the club's first A-League grand final.
After a decade of mediocrity and living in the shadow of Melbourne Victory, the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart will play off for the championship on Sunday when they battle heavyweights Sydney FC.
With the decider being played at Bankwest Stadium and COVID-19 restrictions in place, many diehard fans will be forced to watch City's shot at history on TV while in lockdown.
"We miss our fans. I'm sure they are happy we have reached this grand final," Mombaerts told reporters.
"I'm so disappointed we have to play this game without fans, but I will just say to our fans that we will do our best and I hope they will be proud of our performance.
"One thing is we will fight and play our best and I hope to give pleasure to our fans."
City joined the A-League in 2010, as Heart, but have benefited from the investment power of the City Football Group since taking over the club in 2014.
Many expected instant success after players went from recovering in wheelie bins full of ice to suddenly have the backing of a world sporting powerhouse.
But Frenchman Mombaerts' appointment last year has given City supporters belief in a manager they have never truly had before.
City reached the decider after outlasting Victorian upstarts Western United 2-0 in Wednesday night's semi-final.
While they had more big-game experience against United, that won't be the case against the Sky Blues, who are gunning for a record fifth championship.
Mombaerts concedes most things are in Sydney FC's favour.
"We were in quarantine and they have a lot of experience in grand finals and they finished on top of the table so we're in a position of challenger (underdog)," he said.
Scott Jamieson remains in Melbourne after the birth of his first child and is City's only unavailable player.