Sport

Postecoglou not tempted to throw Nabbout in from the start

Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou Quinn Rooney - Getty Images

ANDREW Nabbout might be one of the rising stars of the A-League but it seems Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou is trying to keep the 19-year-old's feet firmly on the ground.

Nabbout came on as a substitute last week and scored two goals (including the injury-time winner) in the Victory's remarkable 3-2 come-from-behind win over Sydney FC.

But despite that, Postecoglou said he was not tempted to throw the teenager in from the start in tonight's bumper clash against ladder leaders Central Coast Mariners at Etihad Stadium tonight.

"We're quite happy with the way the team's been playing the last three or four weeks and we want to maintain that consistency," he said.

"And Andrew's nowhere near playing 90 minutes at the moment, he's only really just started training with us on a regular basis.

"Marco (Rojas) and Archie (Thompson) have been going really well, so we're quite happy and comfortable to continue that way."

Victory was handed a blow yesterday in the lead-up tonight's big clash, losing Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler to a groin injury.

Finkler battled his way through last week's thrilling win but has not been on the paddock since.

"Finkler's no good," Postecoglou said after training yesterday.

"He's been struggling with a groin for a couple of weeks.

"We protected him against Wellington but last week, because of the nature of the game, we had to keep him out there for 90 minutes.

"We got him through last week but he just hasn't trained at all this week.

"So we made the decision yesterday that there's no point continuing to push him along, he's got to get over it so he'll miss tomorrow."

Postecoglou said Isaka Cernak will come in for Finkler for his first game of the season and would play a central midfield role, despite previously playing on a wing.

Both Rojas and Thompson played for New Zealand and Australia respectively in midweek matches, but Postecoglou said he expected both to start against the Mariners.

"They trained, they got in this morning and I spoke to them," Postecoglou said.

"Yeah they're fine. They both played about 70 minutes on Wednesday... they're right to go."

And as for Victory being installed a favourite by some bookmakers to sign David Beckham if the former England captain joins the A-League as a guest player, Postecoglou simply nipped the story in the bud.

"That's great if he is... would we be interested? No," Postecoglou said.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said he was expecting a tough game from an ever-improving Victory side.
"They have been getting better and better," he said.

"Ever since they lost 5-0 at Brisbane Roar, Ange has obviously stamped his authority on the group, you can see the way that they are playing, free, fluent style of football, passing football.

"Ange is the best coach in Australia for a good reason and that's why they're doing what they are doing down at Melbourne."

Topics:  a league, melbourne victory



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