Soccer

Injured City star eyes A-League finals

Melbourne City star Andrew Nabbout is prepared to risk his injured adductor in this week’s A-League game against Newcastle to get some much-needed match fitness ahead of his club’s finals campaign.

Nabbout thought his season was dead and buried when he ruptured his tendon in City’s 4-1 win over Adelaide United on May 13.

But while the injury ended the 28-year-old attacker’s hopes of Socceroos selection for the current block of World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait, Nabbout is now confident of taking part in the A-League finals series after an aggressive approach to his rehabilitation.

City’s finals campaign starts on Friday week, but rather than wrap himself in cotton wool until then, Nabbout wants to test his injury in his team’s catch-up game against the Jets.

The match is set to be played on either Thursday or Friday, and despite it being a City home game, the Melbourne club might have to travel interstate due to the current lockdown in the Victorian capital.

“I’ve started training with team so if I can get up to scratch and pass all the fitness tests required, then hopefully I can play (against Newcastle), but if not, then get in another full week of training and hopefully be ready by the semi-final,” Nabbout said.

“It’s a tough decision. If I can play at almost 100 per cent against Newcastle, then it’s better to get some game time and potentially start in the semi-final if that’s what the coaches want.

“Otherwise it’ll be a different story in the semi-final if I haven’t had any game time in recent weeks.”

Andrew Nabbout and Tom Glover are preparing for Melbourne City’s finals campaign, Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Nabbout said although City could not be dislodged from top spot, the match against lowly Newcastle was important because his team was working on new combinations in the absence of Socceroos squad members Jamie Maclaren, Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to consolidate our game plan going into the finals,” he said.

“These games are invaluable for us.”

And particularly when they give City the chance to use teenagers Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Max Caputo.

Caputo, just 15, made his A-League debut against the Victory when he entered Sunday’s 1-1 derby draw in the 83rd minute.

“It looked like he didn’t really miss a beat. He didn’t look out of place,” Nabbout said of attacking weapon Caputo.

“I can’t remember what I was going at 15 but it definitely wasn’t playing A-League football. Props to him and props to the coaches for giving him a chance.”

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