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A-League break for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is ‘land of the unknown’ for Melbourne City

Making the Socceroos squad for November’s World Cup in Qatar is no doubt the dream of many an A-League player – but for those who don’t, four weeks without competitive football will create a huge unknown. 

The competition will pause from November 14 to December 8 as Graham Arnold and his squad of 26 take part in the World Cup.

At the very least a smattering of A-League players will fly to Qatar for the Socceroos opener on November 23, where a tough group of France, Denmark and Tunisia await.

Melbourne City might be the current ladder leaders, but coach Patrick Kisnorbo admits figuring out how to handle the upcoming break is the ‘land of the unknown’ for clubs.

Jamie Maclaren has been in red-hot goalscoring form for City at the start of this season

Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren are two Melbourne City players who are hopeful of a World Cup berth with the Socceroos

City players Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie and Marco Tilio will potentially nab themselves a ticket on the plane to Qatar, while Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, Mariners pair Garang Kuol and Jason Cummings and Reds veteran Craig Goodwin will also be in the mix.

So while they will be keeping fit over in the energy-sapping heat of Qatar playing matches and participating in high-intensity trainer, their teammates and opponents back home won’t kick a ball in anger for four weeks.  

Kisnorbo said how club’s deal with the unique situation will be  

Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo admits he is unsure how clubs will fare without competitive football for a month

Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo admits he is unsure how clubs will fare without competitive football for a month

‘It’s the land of the unknown. It’s the first time it’s happened to us. So time will tell,’ he told reporters.

‘It’s a bit like when COVID hit – you don’t really know what’s going to happen.

‘So we’ll have a month off, there’ll be a break. We’ll still train in that break. But yeah, we’ll see what happens after that.

‘But for us, we’ve got to concentrate on today and tomorrow and this week, and we’ll wait for that to happen when it comes,’ said Kisnorbo.

City plan to keep up their intense training at their Casey Fields base, but Kisnorbo hasn’t yet decided whether they would turn to friendly games to keep up match fitness ahead of the side’s first match after the break against the Sky Blues on December 10 in Sydney.

Which A-League players will score themselves a spot in the Socceroos' World Cup squad? At least seven are in serious contention

Which A-League players will score themselves a spot in the Socceroos’ World Cup squad? At least seven are in serious contention

‘I don’t know if we will go away at all, so we could be stuck in Melbourne,’ he said of the club’s plans during the break.

‘Games-wise, obviously the NPL will have just started in terms of pre-season, so we’ll maybe try and get a couple of games there. But it’s very difficult to organise those sorts of things.

‘We’ll have to deal with this unique situation when it comes,’ said Kisnorbo.

The early season start allowed the league to get six games under its belt, allowing Socceroos hopefuls more time to impress and giving club’s their full complement of Aussie players. 

City have certainly started the season in imposing form, winning all three of their matches to sit two points clear of Western Sydney in second.

And they don’t plan on taking their foot off the accelerator in their next three games.

‘I don’t know any other way (than full steam ahead). Whether there was a break or no break, I’d probably still be the same,’ Kisnorbo said.

‘I train the boys hard and and we train our hardest, every day we try and get better. That’s what we have here.’

Patrick Kisnorbo says City will be training at their Melbourne base - though is unsure whether they will take part in any friendly or intra-squad matches

Patrick Kisnorbo says City will be training at their Melbourne base – though is unsure whether they will take part in any friendly or intra-squad matches

City hope to welcome back skipper Scott Jamieson, who trained this week after he was a late withdrawal from the Melbourne derby with a groin injury, for Sunday’s clash with Wellington.

Central defender Nuno Reis has recovered from a hamstring injury and is also in contention for the match against the eighth-placed club in at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

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