McNamara timely return to City: ‘We haven’t had the attacking penetration she brings’

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Holly McNamara has returned from Matildas duties and her club side, Melbourne City, can not wait to get her back on the pitch to add another dimension to the side’s winning form.

City coach Rado Vidosic and captain Emma Checker both believe McNamara’s potential return to the side will add another dimension to their team’s performances.

The 19-year-old is far from guaranteed to start Sunday’s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers, having recently returned from the Asian Cup where she picked up a knee injury.

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Nonetheless, Vidosic believes that McNamara is a definite chance of starting the game, having been cleared of any serious injury.

“It’s nothing serious [the injury],” he said.

“She trained today, she will train tomorrow.

“We still haven’t decided if she will start or even play; it all depends on how she feels on the day.”

Despite winning five of their last six games, City have been dissatisfied with their recent performances.

Vidosic’s side have been on the road for their last three games, securing impressive away wins over Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, as well as slumping to their second defeat of the season at the hands of Sydney FC.

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Even though the side have continued to pick up wins, the City captain believes her team are yet to match some of their early-season performances.

Checker said return of McNamara could add the necessary spark to her team.

“We’ve been a little bit disappointed with our form despite some good results. Our focus this week is to return to the form we had in the early rounds,” she said.

“We’re definitely hoping [McNamara] she can contribute. She’s a star player in our team. Our aim is to have her out there for the full game.”

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Vidosic concurred with his captain’s assessment of McNamara’s value to the City team.

“In the last few weeks we just haven’t had the penetration that we have when Holly plays because she is so direct,” he said.

“If we can utilise her strengths then we will probably look more dangerous and create more opportunities. Everything will be more effective.

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Vidosic spoke about McNamara’s importance to the general game style of his team.

He said McNamara’s drive into the opposition half should enable the rest of the team to step higher up the pitch and pin back their opposition.

City’s inability to dominate territory and possession in recent weeks has been a noticeable consequence of McNamara’s absence.

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This weekend’s matchup with the goal shy Wanderers will provide an interesting obstacle for City in their quest to return to top form.

Catherine Cannuli’s side have only scored twice this season, with only one of those goals coming from open play.

City are determined not to take their opponents lightly despite Western Sydney’s apparent lack of goal threat.

“Every team is capable of punishing you,” Vidosic said.

“It’s very important that we start on the front foot and play our normal game.”

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Whether McNamara returns will be a key point of interest.

If she does, it will be fascinating to observe whether City can reclaim dominance in the midfield battle with a more balanced side.

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If nothing else, City must make the most of having a near-fully available squad.

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Before both top-scorer Hannah Wilkinson and midfield general Rebekah Stott may depart City’s squad in the coming weeks to take part in New Zealand’s SheBelieves Cup campaign.

Losing more key players would be a devastating blow to Vidosic.

So McNamara’s return has certainly come at a crucial time.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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Oscar Rutherford
Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

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