Joyce desperate for Sky Blue switch-up

Ben McKay
Will a win over Sydney FC be Warren Joyce's parting gift?

If Warren Joyce is entering the final weeks of his Melbourne City tenure as expected, then he'd like to leave Australian shores with the parting gift of an A-League victory over Sydney FC.

City, woefully out of form already, face their bogey team at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, having lost their past seven matches against their Sky Blue rivals. That includes all five under Joyce, with City on a run of conceding 12 straight goals to the reigning premiers.

Joyce laughed he was "obviously desperate" to break through on Sunday but to do so he needs to shuffle his playing pack accordingly.

Back in the mix are crucial defenders Bart Schenkeveld and Ritchie De Laet (suspension) and Harrison Delbridge (hamstring).

And out of the frame are Olyroos call-ups Riley McGree, Nathaniel Atkinson and Lachlan Wales.

An ankle injury to Moudi Najjar means there's likely to be a role on the bench for an untried teenager; either 15-year-old Yaya Dukuly or Gianluca Iannucci, 18.

Both are pacy wide attackers, with Joyce hailing their impact in training over the past fortnight when City have not had an A-League match.

"They knock one or two of the first-teamers on their backside and you have a little chuckle ... it's good to see kids wanting to take a chance," Joyce said.

"With the numbers that we've got, they've forced themselves into the reckoning."

While colleagues Markus Babbel and Kevin Muscat have hit out at Graham Arnold calling up their young stars for this weekend's matches, Joyce took a different tack.

"You knew at the start of the season ... there's no point griping about it. It's there in the rules," he said.

"We're a club that wants young Aussie lads to come here and progress.

"You either don't bother and accept the rule and don't try and sign anyone or bring young players through or you accept things."

Joyce's City have one win in eight games and are limping towards the finals, where they aren't expected to make any impact.

The Englishman downplayed concern over a lack of tenure at the club, saying he was "only focusing on these next six games ... and doing well enough to be in the finals".

He also refuted the suggestion Sydney FC's mid-week Asian Champions League clash in Japan would make them easier to tackle this weekend.

"I'd rather be them ... going into the game having played Champions League than going into the game having two weeks off," he said.

"You've got rhythm and you're playing."