Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo could give the club’s new Portuguese defender Nuno Reis his A-League debut on Wednesday night against a Central Coast Mariners desperate to celebrate Matt Simon’s 200th competition appearance with a win.
Reis, who last played for Bulgarian club Levski Sofia, is out of quarantine and has been named in an extended City squad for the clash.
His poise and calmness could be just what City need after their 3-1 loss on Sunday to Perth Glory at AAMI Park.
However, Kisnorbo was on Tuesday still to decide how much game time both Reis and the fit-again Rostyn Griffiths, would play against the Mariners.
“They are capable (of starting) but the question is are they ready to play 90 minutes? Maybe not,” Kisnorbo said.
“We’ll take everything into consideration … they are an option.”
Kisnorbo said 30-year-old Reis’ class was obvious on the training paddock.
“His experience is key, his leadership, he’s a player that is great on the ball, he’s great defensively … he’s good for our team,” the City coach said.
Should Reis, who can also be used in front of the back four as a defensive midfielder, play on Wednesday night, he’s bound to cross paths with the damaging Simon, who is certain to throw himself about in the Mariners’ forward line.
📺 Ahead of tomorrow night's clash against the Mariners, re-live the highlights from last time we met.
Macca bagged a hattrick in a big 4-2 win away from home last March! pic.twitter.com/apX2vruihQ
“He’s been a great player, a great servant of Central Coast and the A-League,” said former Socceroos hardman Kisnorbo of Simon.
“How I would mark him as a defender, maybe I wouldn’t speak to you about that on camera, but (200 A-League appearances) is a great milestone for him, his family and everyone in the A-League community.”
Former Sydney FC marksman Simon said he and the Mariners, who lost 2-1 to Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, thrived on playing “big teams” such as City.
“The boys are really looking forward to the game and we want to get the three points considering that we dropped those points in the last game,” said Simon, who added he had not been thinking about his 200-game milestone.
“It has come up pretty quick this year with all the short turnarounds.”
Simon, 35, said the “professionalism” of the Mariners, and the entire A-League, had significantly improved since his first appearance in the competition almost 15 years ago.
“The facilities the players are fortunate enough to train on every day is a big improvement,” he said.
“I still remember back in the early days we used to get a text message in the morning to where training was going to be.”
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