Macarthur coach Ante Milicic is expecting a number of key players to return as soon as this weekend as his side look to shore up a top-six A-League Men spot.
The cavalry is about to arrive for Macarthur, with injury-plagued Socceroo striker Tomi Juric one of those set to bolster the battling Bulls in their quest to make the A-League Men finals.
Macarthur Star Returns
- Macarthur are set to see the return of a number of important players.
- Three previously missing players are expected to appear during Sunday's A-League match.
- The Bulls have slipped to fifth in the ladder.
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The result, and Wellington's win over Brisbane, dropped Macarthur one spot to sixth and left them with a record of just one win and two draws from their last seven games.
While Daniel De Silva and Tommy Oar remain on the injured list, Macarthur could regain the services of up to three players for Sunday's home game with Perth.
Coach Ante Milicic said forward Craig Noone would be available. And both defender Adrian Mariappa and Juric were in with a big chance of coming back this weekend.
Mariappa played two full games for Jamaica in World Cup qualifiers over the last week.
Potentially the biggest boost could be the return of goalscorer Juric, who has been limited to two A-League substitute appearances this season.
Any or all of them would strengthen a side which performed creditably in a 1-0 away loss to leaders Melbourne City and then had Sydney on the ropes in the first half.
"The last two games have been decent, but we've got one point, we need more," Milicic said.
"We've got a lot of games at home (five of our last seven). Hopefully we're going to get some bodies back.
"Tomi Juric has been doing a little bit of training so we are all obviously excited about that.
"You look at Juric and Mariappa, they are a chance - but Nooney will also be available for selection as well, which is a big plus for us.
"We've probably missed too many important players for too long, but we're still there or thereabouts and we're confident if we can get them back towards mid to late April then we're a chance."
Milicic said the injuries had provided opportunities for a number of younger players, including Lachie Rose, Jake Hollman, Al Hassan Toure and Charles M'Mombwa.
Macarthur conceded just two goals In their first five games, but have leaked an average of two a match in 14 subsequent ALM fixtures.
"The long break that we had for COVID, 37 days without playing a competitive game, took its toll on us and we haven't been able to be the same side defensively, but also get to full fitness," Milicic said.
Milicic noted his Mexican star Ulises Davila who scored the opening goal on Wednesday from a penalty, had been kicked 13 times in the first half alone.
"It happens every game, I've mentioned that weeks before, but I know at the same time nothing is going to happen, so I just get frustrated, he gets frustrated," Milicic said.
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.