Kennedy will be fit to lead attack: JVS

Melbourne City coach John van’t Schip is adamant new Australian marquee Josh Kennedy will be fit to lead the club’s front-line from January onwards, despite the Socceroo striker not having played since August.

Kennedy, the hero of Australia’s World Cup qualifying victory over Iraq last year, will join City in early 2015 following the expiry of his contract with Nagoya Grampus at the end of the J-League season.


The 32-year-old will hope to avoid the fate suffered by the likes of Harry Kewell and Vince Grella, both of whom struggled for fitness during spells with the side then known as Melbourne Heart late in their careers.

“We’ll have to have a program for him, (so) that he’s prepared when we start after January,” Van ‘t Schip said when quizzed on Kennedy’s health.

“He’s had a good medical, there are no issues, no problems. The main thing is going to be that he will have a good lead-up to the second part (of the season). 

“We’ll have the medical department and our physical coach (making) contact with him and making a program that when he comes in he’s going to be as good as possible to start and then we have to build him up and make sure he’s going to be an important asset for us.”

Worryingly, Kennedy hasn’t played since August as he continues to recover from the back problem that ruled him out of the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign.

Nevertheless, Van ‘t Schip insists paying the tall striker an undisclosed amount outside the salary cap will prove a worthwhile venture for the club.

“We hope that he still has a few good years in front of him,” he said.

“We’ll work hard to get him fit, he will work hard to get fit. He’s very ambitious to play in the A-League, we all are going to work to make that happen.”

City have struggled for goals so far in 2014-15 and must now make do without the services of superstar David Villa following the end of his four-game guest stint.

The arrival of Kennedy in the second half of the season should go some way to remedying that defect, although the arrival of a classic target man, albeit one also able to play with the ball at his feet, may prompt some tweaks to City’s game plan.

“We’ll have to adapt to his way of playing, but I don’t think we’ll change the style in a big way,” Van ‘t Schip said.

“I can imagine a few things will change, maybe.

“He’s able to hold the ball (up) and to lay (it) off. We don’t expect him to dribble (past) four or five players because that’s not his quality. 

“He has other very good qualities and we have to make sure that the team around him is working and that he can profit the most from it.”

Without Villa or Kennedy for now, City must find a way to claim all three points for the first time this season when they go away to Brisbane Roar on Saturday, with the champions also winless so far in 2014-15.