Three storylines to look out for in Round 18 of the A-League

Three storylines to look out for in Round 18 of the A-League

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The weekend’s action could see a host of fresh faces take to the pitch for the first time in their new colours with several clubs including their new signings in the current squad listings.

Meanwhile, several big names are expected to make their return from injury and suspension across the competition.

New faces galore, returning faces provide a major boost

In arguably the biggest inclusion of the weekend, Melbourne Victory are expected to welcome back marquee star Keisuke Honda from a hamstring injury. The former Japanese international has been joined by James Donachie in the squad, as he looks to make his first appearance in his second stint with last season’s champions.

Across town, City have two new exciting attacking options with Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shayon Harrison and Socceroos striker included in Warren Joyce’s squad.

Their opponents Adelaide United have a new attacking option of their one with Jordy Thomassen in line to make his A-League now.

Brisbane could introduce Charles Lokoli-Ngoy and Ruon Tongyik when they take on Sydney on Friday night. The former will be hoping to make his mark against his former side. While Thomas Kristensen has been promoted.

Steve Corica could give fans a first glimpse of his newest attacker with Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad pressing for his first appearance in Sky Blue. Sydney will also welcome back Alex Brosque and Michael Zullo back from injury.

Bottom of the table Central Coast could unveil Sheffield United loanees Sam Graham and Stephen Mallon against the Wanderers, who welcome back experienced duo Alex Baumjohann and Patrick Ziegler.

The top of the table clash

When Perth travel to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon they will have the opportunity to extend their lead over the Victory to seven points.

The duo played out a thrilling contest at the venue earlier in the season with Chris Ikonomidis scoring an injury time winner for the visitors.

Kevin Muscat’s side know they will need a better start than last time out against the Mariners if they are to get a foot hold in the contest.

Three points to the home side would have them breathing down the necks of the Glory with nine games remaining.

All neutrals will be hoping for a game which justifies the position of these two in the table.

Jostling for a home final 

Melbourne City host Adelaide this weekend in a match which could have major implications on the final season run in.

The Reds sit two points clear of City in fourth, with Wellington just a further point back.

With the top three appearing to be out of reach of the three teams making up the top six, means fourth place becomes all the more important.

Picking up points against their closest rivals could be the difference between a home final or a trip on the round during the first round of the A-League finals.

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