City coach to skip A-League away trip

Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts will not travel to the Central Coast for Friday night's A-League game due to his concerns over the coronavirus.

Newly appointed Melbourne City Head Coach ERICK MOMBAERTS speaks during a Melbourne City A-League media opportunity at CFA Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia.
Newly appointed Melbourne City Head Coach ERICK MOMBAERTS speaks during a Melbourne City A-League media opportunity at CFA Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts will not travel to the Central Coast or Newcastle for the A-League club's final two interstate games of the regular season, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Assistant Patrick Kisnorbo will take the reins for away games against the Mariners on Friday and Jets on Monday with 64-year-old Mombaerts preferring not to travel because of his age - a stance supported by City.

The A-League club will remain in NSW between the two games, before returning to Melbourne.

Mombaerts will coach City in their final three regular-season games in Victoria against Adelaide United, Western United and Sydney FC.

"I'm confident in our players and I'm also confident in Patrick to coach the team for these two games, very confident," Mombaerts said.

"We are very close and all things are prepared for these two games."

Former Socceroos centre-back Kisnorbo enjoyed a strong career overseas including a long stint at Leicester City, then Leeds, before captaining City in the A-League.

He began his coaching career as an assistant to City's youth and W-League sides, then became W-League head coach in 2017 and won the 2017-18 championship.

City will enter Friday's clash as heavy favourites against the Mariners but Mombaerts made it clear his second-placed side wouldn't underestimate their opponent, who have lost nine games on the bounce.

"If we compare the positions of the clubs it seems easy, but an A-League game is not easy so the players know that we have to perform ... we have to play well," he said.

"So that's why we concentrate on our game, on our training and also we have corrected some little things about how to perform better in the final third."

STATS THAT MATTER

* City have lost only one of their last 13 A-League matches against the Mariners (W9, D3) - that loss came the last time the Mariners hosted this fixture (Rd 12, 2018/19).

* The Mariners have lost their past nine A-League games in a row; a 10th consecutive loss would equal their longest ever stretch in the competition and the second-longest of any team in A-League history (NZ Knights - 11 losses in 2005).

* Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City) has been directly involved in 19 goals this A-League season (15 goals, 4 assists), more than any other player.


AAP