Vidošić backs the Bos as he eyes third-straight City premiership

With a win against the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday enough to secure the club a record third-straight A-League Women premiership, Melbourne City gaffer Rado Vidošić is cognizant of the stakes associated with this weekend. But with the Mariners also desperately trying to chase down Adelaide United for second place on the ALM table, he also knows that his side are in for a fight in these efforts.

Undefeated in five games and winners of their last two, City has begun to find some of their mojo at just the right time of the season in recent weeks, smashing Wellington Phoenix 4-1 on Easter Monday thanks to a rampant, three-goal second half. 

Seven points clear atop the ALM table heading into its final three weeks, maximum points on Saturday afternoon would take them to 51 points for the season, with second-placed Adelaide, who will face Western United on Sunday, only able to finish on a maximum of 50 points. 

The Mariners, meanwhile, sit four points back of the Reds heading into their final home game of the regular season, clinching finals football with their win over Western last Friday, and also have the carrot of needing to travel to South Australia on the final day of the regular season. 

The circumstances have led to Mariner coach Nick Montgomery extolling the Gosford faithful to pack out Central Coast Stadium for this weekend’s game and left the City boss under no illusions that both sides have it all to play for. 

“They are a fantastic squad, third on the ladder at the moment,” said Vidošić. “They’ve got all their players back, they’ve been very successful last week, they thrashed Western United 3-0. We had a good look at that game. They were excellent. [Gosford is] a hostile environment. 

“The good thing is that, for us, we just continue to play the way that we would like to play. They are the ones that are chasing it. They need to come out firing so there may be a little bit more space behind them or between the lines. 

“When we played them the first time around, it was one of my first games [after taking over for Patrick Kisnorbo post-World Cup break]. We controlled the first half and then they were excellent in the second half. They’ve shown that they can play against us, they’ve shown that they can hurt us. We kept a clean sheet that game, we won 1-0, and we’re going to hope that we can get a similar result this time around.”

Vidošić said that despite the short turnaround his side would have and the less-than-satisfactory pitch conditions at AAMI Park for their win over Wellington, no players had come up sore from Monday. 

Injured Richard van der Venne and Mat Leckie will remain in Melbourne while the rest of the team travels to New South Wales to complete a match simulation to get them ready to play Western United in the season’s penultimate week. 

Captain Scott Jamieson, meanwhile, will return from suspension, with the coach floating the possibility that the veteran could come into the side as a left-back to rest young flyer, Jordan Bos. 

The breakout star of this year’s ALM season and recently receiving his first Socceroos’ cap, Bos was the subject of rumours this week that linked him with a move to Manchester City – the highest club on the City Football Group totem pole that Melbourne City is also a part of. He would be the second breakout youngster to move from Melbourne to Manchester in the past five years, with Daniel Arzani making the same leap following the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Not a candidate to break into Man City’s first team, Bos would likely move out on loan should a deal go through, albeit this might carry its own complications.

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“I believe… there is some kind of restriction on players that the Premier League can loan,” Vidošić said when those rumours were put to him. “I don’t think that Manchester City would buy Jordy in their squad but if that is a possibility, something similar to what happened with Daniel Arzani, I don’t know if that is still a possibility. 

“If that is a possibility, that would be fantastic but if that is not a possibility then… I’m quite sure that the City Football Group will look after him. He’s a great player. Soon he’s going to be in one of our clubs.”

Recent loan regulations brought in by FIFA change the way that clubs around the world are allowed to loan players, including placing limits on just how many they can send out to other clubs during a season. From July 1, 2023, clubs will only be allowed to loan out a maximum of seven players on professional contracts, with the same number restricted to coming the other way. From July 1, 2024, that number will shrink to six. 

Homegrown players and those under 21 are exempt from the regulations. Bos will still be 20 years old at the time the 2023-24 Premier League season is scheduled to start in August.

Deals under the new guidelines would have to run at least between two transfer windows, while the maximum duration would be for one year. Clubs may also only have at most three professionals sent to a single club under the rules. ‘Sub-loaning’ – loaning a player already on loan – is also barred.

Regardless of what lies next in Bos’ future, however, his coach, who previously oversaw his development as the head of City’s academy, is convinced that the newly-minted Socceroo has the mentality to succeed when he takes the next step in his career and moves to Europe. 

Further, Vidošić says that the ongoing maturity of City’s academy and its commitment to playing young players – a proviso for which is bolted into the coach’s contract – means that the club is primed to continue pumping out high-quality players: Bos joining the likes of Connor Metcalfe, Nathaniel Atkinson, and Denis Genreau as players that have progressed from City’s academy to the Socceroos in recent years. 

“I had an individual meeting with [Bos] [on Thursday],” said the coach. “We were talking about his game. He said that [the Phoenix win] was one of his worst games of the whole season. Although he created a perfect pass for Tilio’s goal, he did really well for us going forward. 

“He’s conscious of what he needs to do, both of his feet are on the ground and he knows that there are a lot of areas in his game that he needs to improve. He’s working hard. Once he’s overseas then you’re not a young and talented player anymore. You need to play. You have to be on top of your game every single game. And he’s been on top of his game for us 99% of the time. He’s been a shining light. 

“Our academy has been a very, very important part of that development. I think the 2007 class will be the first generation that started as 12, 13-year-olds [in City’s academy]. We are waiting for them to complete their academy journey.

“I think we can really start measuring the academy and the players we are producing. There are a lot of good players in the pipeline. 

“We have got a policy here that we want to play young players. That was one of my KPIs, you have to play young players and you need to sell them so that we could send some money back into the academy so that it’s basically self-funded. 

“If that is your KPI, that you need to play them, then you need to maybe deal sometimes with when they’re not playing that good. You still need to give them that trust that they can go out, enjoy themselves and perform. But they need to be good enough to do that.”

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

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