City eye home edge in A-League restart

Anna Harrington
Josh Brillante is keen for Melbourne City to play their remaining regular season games in Victoria

The A-League's mid-July restart could play right into Melbourne City's hands, allowing them to avoid leaving their home city for at least the remainder of the regular season.

Previously, plans for a NSW hub would likely have resulted in second-placed City playing fellow Victorian club Western United at AAMI Park before shifting north for their home games against Adelaide and Sydney FC.

But with COVID-19 restrictions around interstate travel starting to lift, there is now a possibility City could play those three home games in Melbourne, boosting their top-two hopes.

"(It's a) massive advantage if you can play those games that were meant to be at home; it's a big advantage," City midfielder Josh Brillante said on Wednesday.

"You're at your home, you get to train at your facilities, you're playing at your home ground that you're used to throughout the season."

Perth and Wellington will see out their remaining regular-season matches in NSW.

While some other teams will have to complete up to six games, compared to City's three, Brillante said longer breaks between encounters wasn't necessarily a positive.

"It can go both ways," he said.

"Having less games means less competitive matches leading into finals.

"More games means you've played more competitive games leading into finals but obviously you've got more matches in a short period of time, so there's the fatigue factor."

City will resume the season eight points behind table-toppers Sydney but only four points ahead of Wellington and five above Brisbane, who both have games in hand.

"We haven't cemented second place yet - we have played more games - so I think it's more important to get results in these three games that we have left," Brillante said.

He said it had been critical to complete the season, which resumes on July 16, rather than call it off.

City returned to training this week minus attacking midfielder Adrian Luna, who returned to Uruguay over the season suspension and is yet to arrive back in Melbourne.