Melbourne City new boy Jamie Maclaren feels no pressure from Bruno Fornaroli...

Melbourne City new boy Jamie Maclaren feels no pressure from Bruno Fornaroli saga


By freezing out Bruno Fornaroli, Melbourne City boss Bruno Fornaroli was always running the gauntlet of facing a goals shortage in A-League matches. 

Forty-eight total goals in 70 matches in all competitions is not easy to replace, and the lofty bar El Tuna had set for attackers league-wide was always going to take some beating.

It has now been some two months without seeing Fornaroli in a City shirt on the pitch, and despite holding their own in the top six, things have played out as expected.

It is plenty of goals to leave behind.

Warren Joyce’s side has managed six wins during Fornaroli’s exile but find themselves well short of the top three – eight points adrift – and have been prone to toothless displays in front of goal.

City’s 2-0 defeat against Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium on the weekend drilled the message home.

There was only so far City could go with the likes of Lachlan Wales and Ritchie De Laet deputising as makeshift strikers.

So the last-ditch January signing of Socceroo Jamie Maclaren is timely, likewise that of Tottenham Hotspur young gun Shayon Harrison on loan.

Both players have linked up with their new teammates and have begun training, set to debut against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

The weight of expectation is set to fall on Melbourne local Maclaren in particular, who is returning to the A-League from a one and a half year stint in Europe.

Things did not quite work out as planned with Darmstadt in Germany, and a second loan spell with Scottish side Hibernian fell flat following a promising debut campaign.

But 51 A-League goals – 11 for Perth Glory and 40 for Brisbane Roar, which earned Maclaren the 2016-17 Golden Boot – should see a bright forecast for City.

The apparent solution to City’s issues in front of goal, Maclaren is feeling no additional pressure following the plight of his once-dependable predecessor Fornaroli.

“As a striker, you’re always going to have that sense of pressure, whether you’re at the bottom of the league or you play at the top,” Malcaren said on Tuesday.

“Your job is to go out there and score goals for the club and this team’s been nothing but fantastic this year.

“For me, they’ve just probably lacked having that goal threat.

“But that’s the reason I’m here, why I was brought in, to bring that and I can’t wait to get my debut in front of the home fans on Saturday.

“At the end of the day, it’s a long season and there’s still a lot of football to be played.”

Maclaren’s inclusion presents Marco Kurz and his Adelaide side with a new headache to plan for ahead of the fourth vs fifth meeting.

And three points is crucial. A City win would see them leapfrog the Reds, while an Adelaide victory would put daylight between themselves and the Victorian side.

Captain Isaias was confident his teammates could deal with the fresh threat.

“I don’t mind, I don’t mind, I’ve played against him when he was in Perth or Brisbane (so) I know him pretty well,” he said.

“He is a good striker but if he doesn’t play they have other options, they have very good players, a very deep squad.”