Glory defence a concern for City coach

Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts is pondering ways to break down Perth's defensive system.
Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts is pondering ways to break down Perth's defensive system.

Breaking down what he believes is the A-League's most organised defence is the biggest headache Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts faces this weekend.

City welcome Perth Glory to AAMI Park on Saturday knowing a loss to the visitors would allow Tony Popovic's men to jump above them to second on the ladder.

After a slow start to the year Perth have climbed up the table with an imposing six-game winning run and they also claimed a dominant 3-0 win in Melbourne in December when the teams last met.

Mombaerts believes that result hinged a lot on Glory hitting the front and then using their defensive resilience to catch out City on the counter.

It's an outcome he's desperate to avoid this time around.

"We started enough well against Perth, the first game but ... the first goal was a big mistake," the Frenchman said.

"After that it's not a good scenario ... they control the game with their defensive block and they can play counter.

"They also score one goal on set-pieces and in the second half as they drop back it was more difficult to break through their defensive block."

History is also against Mombaerts' men, with City winning just one of their past 11 games against Glory while Perth haven't lost in their past seven matches against City at AAMI Park.

Perth also arrive in Melbourne with former City marksman Bruno Fornaroli on a hot streak with five goals in his past four games.

"We have to do more and better than we have done before," Mombaerts said.

"I have experience of this first game and I think we we're improving and maybe we'll find some other solution to break their very well-organised defensive block."

Mombaerts will include new signing Jack Hendry in his squad while Spaniard Markel Susaeta could get more minutes but is unlikely to start.

The Glory hope to have Ivan Franjic and Chris Ikonomidis coming back from injury, while Vince Lia is in the squad following his switch from Adelaide United.

KEY MATCH STATS

* Perth Glory's 3-0 win at AAMI Park in December means they're unbeaten in their last seven matches with Melbourne City at the venue.

* Ex-Glory striker Jamie Maclaren has been directly involved in 16 of City's 29 goals thus far this season, scoring 13 and providing three assists.

* Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli has eight goals in 13 matches for the Glory this season, including a strike against his former club City in the 3-0 win in December at AAMI Park.

Australian Associated Press