Melbourne’s three A-League sides have been strengthened by a trio of surprise inclusions in this week’s squads with Panagiotis Kone, Robbie Kruse and Jamie Maclaren unexpectedly named for Western United, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City respectively.
Greek international Kone injured his hamstring in United’s win last week over Western Sydney Wanderers and given his history with hamstring concerns and his age, it was expected he would not be named in the squad to play Newcastle Jets on Saturday. Despite being “touch and go” to play the Jets, he is being given every chance to prove his fitness and won’t miss the round after this one against Central Coast, United coach Mark Rudan said.
Victory have been hesitant to put a timeframe on when Kruse might debut in his second stint for the club following his hamstring injury, and it had seemed he was still a couple of weeks away from playing. But with other injuries (Andrew Nabbout, Tim Hoogland) and Storm Roux, Thomas Deng and Elvis Kamsoba on international duty, Kruse has been included in Marco Kurz’s plans for the derby away to Sydney FC.
Maclaren, who injured his hamstring in round three against Western United, began the season on fire and would have been in the Socceroos squad that plays Jordan overnight on Thursday, if fit last week. He missed selection there but will be in contention to play Brisbane Roar on Sunday as City try to stay top of the table.