City, Victory consider derby reshuffles
Photo Source: AAP
There's no disputing the headline act, but both A-League bosses have more than Tim Cahill on their minds ahead of the Melbourne derby.
City boss John van 't Schip and Victory coach Kevin Muscat have plenty to think about with suspensions, injuries and international duty all affecting their team selections.
Cahill's imminent debut is the obvious question mark, as van 't Schip toys with starting the Socceroos striker or playing him from the bench.
The 36-year-old has just one start - a 4-1 rout of Western Sydney in last month's FFA Cup quarter-final - since July but has van 't Schip convinced of his fitness for the match.
It's down back that the Dutchman has more concerns, with veteran goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen's red card throwing Dean Bouzanis into the fray.
"I am confident in Dean," van 't Schip said.
"If you are not up for a game like this you don't deserve to be a professional football player. A derby, a full house, every player should be up for it.
"Dean has done great for us, since he has been with us from January.
"He didn't get a lot of opportuniteis to play but he did well when he came on (last week against Wellington) and he has shown in training that he is very close and very good."
Van 't Schip - who is fond of mixing up his team selections - could also return Nick Fitzgerald, Osama Malik or Paulo Retre to his starting team.
Muscat needs to find a new No.10 after James Troisi was ruled out for up to a month with a broken collarbone.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah is the leading candidate after a sparkling show in their first-up draw in Brisbane, with Jai Ingham or Marco Rojas likely to come into the side given Troisi's enforced omission.
Rojas landed in Melbourne on Friday morning after completing international duty with New Zealand, scoring in last week's friendly against Mexico and playing a half against the USA on Thursday morning (AEDT).
Muscat said he was confident his diminutive attacker would be fit after his long-haul flight.
"He'd be able to get a good kip in the carry-on luggage compartment, let alone in business class, Marco," he said.
"We've already received medical reports from the New Zealand FA and he's fine. Whether he starts or not, we'll assess that over the next 24 hours."
Muscat, who regains Rashid Mahazi (suspension) and Nick Ansell (soreness) and named wonder-teen Seb Pasquali in his squad, said he was content with his position.
"Whether we look at personnel or we alter things, we've got some options and some flexibility," he said.