Melbourne Victory is boosted by the return of star defender Laura Alleway ahead of its trip to Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League.
Alleway, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is back after missing Victory’s 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers due to international duty.
The centre-back was away with the Westfield Matildas, earning her 50th cap as Australia completed a two-game sweep of China.
Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins is pleased to have Alleway back for Saturday’s clash at Cromer Park.
“Laura’s come back. She was happy with the results of the two games. She’s come back on a bit of a high,” he said.
“She got her 50th cap, which was a great effort from her. She had her birthday as well.
“She’ll come back into the side on the weekend and she’ll obviously add something to the team as well from last week.”
Victory is seventh on the table – five points behind the fourth-placed Newcastle Jets – ahead of its clash against the Sky Blues.
Hopkins saw good signs from his team in its draw against the Wanderers, but said being more patient in possession was an area to work on heading into Round 6.
“We all felt as a group that we went a little bit too direct especially as the game went on and often we were playing to Tash (Natasha Dowie), who was quite isolated up front on her own,” he said.
“We’re going to work on being a little bit more patient to get the ball forward to give ourselves time to get there and support so we’ve got a few more bodies in the front third.
“Added to a lot of the good things we did last week, if we can do that, I think we’ll be much more likely to come away with a positive result.”
In good news for Victory this week, talented teenager Kyra Cooney-Cross was announced as the November nominee for the Westfield W-League NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.
Victory was edged 2-1 by Sydney when the teams last met, in November last year.
Westfield W-League 2017/18 Round 6
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, December 2, 4.00pm AEDT
Cromer Park, Sydney
Melbourne Victory squad (two to be omitted): 1.Casey DUMONT (gk), 2.Whitney KNIGHT, 3.Alex GUMMER, 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 6.Annabel MARTIN, 7.JEON Ga Eul, 8.Angela BEARD, 9.Natasha DOWIE, 10.Kyra COONEY-CROSS, 11.MelindaJ BARBIERI, 13.Laura SPIRANOVIC, 14.Melina AYRES, 16.Lia PRIVITELLI, 17.Gulcan KOCA, 18.Tiffany ELIADIS, 19.Kristen MCNABB, 20.Bethany MASON-JONES (gk)
Ins: 2.Whitney KNIGHT (promoted), 5.Laura ALLEWAY (Return from international duty)
Unavailable: 31.Christina Gibbons (Injured – 2 weeks)