Joyce wary of banana skin Mariners
Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has welcomed "new signing", Frenchman Florin Berenguer to bolster his threadbare attack for the potential banana skin trip to Central Coast.
The former French top-flight player returns from a calf issue, with Joyce thrilled with his return amid the absence of his other three first-choice options from the start of the season - Michael O'Halloran (departed), Bruno Fornaroli (dropped) and Dario Vidosic (injured).
Joyce did not rule out playing Ritchie de Laet up front once again, admitting that the courageous Belgian may struggle to back up for all the games during the busy January schedule.
The Mariners had already recorded the worst start in A-League history in Round 8, and have lost all four games since, but Joyce scoffed at any suggestions of a cakewalk.
"We've worked on a couple of things, so we'll just look at that (whether de Laet plays up front again),'' Joyce said.
"We've got to juggle around what numbers we've got. We've not got massive choices, massive numbers - certainly not senior players, so we've got to mix and match a bit over the next three games, which are important.
"But all our focus is the Central Coast game, we've got to win that. You're certainly not overlooking them because we've watched the last few games and they've played really well.
"They dominated the game against league winners Sydney FC until the sending off and they played well at Wellington, a bit of a tweak, different personnel and younger boys playing, there's a freedom about the place
"They have nothing to fear, nothing to lose, playing on the front foot. We've got to be at our absolute max to go there and win."
Riley McGree will play despite limping off in the opening minutes of the Brisbane Roar win, although ever-present and versatile defender Harrison Delbridge is suspended, offering right-back Dylan Pierias a rare squad opening.
Joyce hoped Berenguer, who will start on the bench, will play a key role in the run home.
"It's like a new signing for us really,'' he said.
"He was making more of an impact in games, but then he got struck down by injury, so you're looking for him to come back and continue and make an impact in this second half of the season.
"He's worked really hard. He's a good pro that during the time he's been injured, he's pushed himself.
"If you do the right things, live the lifestyle the right way, you push yourself extra in the gym, in early, then he works hard on the running."
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