Kennedy in line for derby debut

Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip says Josh Kennedy has a chance of being involved in the derby next weekend but is unlikely to start against Melbourne Victory.

Veteran Kennedy was ruled out of City’s 2-1 win at home to Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday after suffering a minor setback on his route back to full fitness.

But according to Van ‘t Schip, the Australian marquee player could yet make his debut in the battle for local bragging rights at Etihad Stadium.

“Hopefully he can be available for next week,” he said.

“But then of course he will not be a 90-minute player.

“If he’s not involved today, in a week’s time we can’t expect miracles. He hasn’t played a lot of games the last year.

“It’s not (all) about him, it’s about the club, about the team. We have to just see where this week goes. If everything goes ok he can be a part of the game next week.”

City had to come from behind against the Wanderers after conceding a soft goal to Western Sydney debutant Yojiro Takahagi, with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne seemingly at fault.

“Redders and the defence for that goal, yeah, it looked a bit weird,” he said.

“If you look at the rest of the game he played a good game. I was pleased with his reaction.”

Sections of the crowd at AAMI Park responded to the mistake by chanting the name of Redmayne’s rival shot-stopper Tando Velaphi, prompting a rebuke from Van ‘t Schip: “I don’t think it’s fair. I haven’t heard but if that’s (true) I don’t think it’s fair and we’re not helping each other with that.” 

Velaphi, who served a one-match suspension during the game against the Wanderers, is no certainty to return for the Victory showdown due to a muscle problem he has been carrying for the last two weeks.

Whoever does get the nod between the sticks, they will have a big task on their hands shutting out title-challengers Victory, with Van ‘t Schip predicting a typically feisty encounter.

“Every derby is important,” he said.

“The points are the same, all those clichés (but) they’re great games, every time.”