READY TO RAISE THE ROOF: Melbourne City’s David Villa poses during the A-League 2014-15 season launch at Etihad Stadium this week.
READY TO RAISE THE ROOF: Melbourne City’s David Villa poses during the A-League 2014-15 season launch at Etihad Stadium this week. Robert Cianflonegetty Images

Put your house on Villa to make debut

THE mind games have already started ahead of tonight's huge A-League clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium.

All eyes will obviously be on David Villa, who seems set to make his debut for the newly named club against the Sky Blues.

But just when the Spanish international will make his first playing appearance in Australia has not been revealed, with City coach John van't Schip keeping his cards close to his chest before his team's final training session yesterday.

"He's going to be a part of the game, we'll just see which part," the Dutchman said.

"We know that he is fit, that he can play, that he wants to play.

"Now we're having something going on that we think 'okay, what's the best (for him)?' because we know he is not able to play a full game."

Villa has not played since scoring against the Socceroos at the World Cup in Brazil on June 23.

Spain's top scorer with 59 goals, has, however, been put through a hectic training routine by host club New York, from which he is on loan to Melbourne City for up to 10 games.

Van't Schip said because of that schedule he was not concerned about how good a shape Villa would be in.

Sydney FC has been cruelled by international call-ups with Bernie Ibini, Hagi Gligor, Christopher Naumoff, Mark Janko and Ali Abbas all unavailable.

But it can still boast a side containing Shane Smeltz, Corey Gameiro, Sasa Ognenowski and Alex Brosque, who will skipper Graham Arnold's side.

In tonight's other game, Newcastle Jets will be looking to end a disappointing run against New South Wales rivals Central Coast Mariners in the F3 derby at Gosford.

The Jets have won only once in their past 16 visits to Central Coast Stadium but skipper Kew Jaliens says the team will not be dwelling on the past tonight.

"I never look at the past, I look always to the future and it's another chance for us to get three points away and that's what we'll try to do," Jaliens said.

"It's important to win this game, not only for us, but for the club and all the supporters.

"I think it's a good thing because it means we can't afford to have a slow start.

"We need to be sharp from the beginning and I think it will be good for us to be under the pump from minute one.

"It's a big game and we're excited to start the season against them and we'll see what happens."

With Adrian Madaschi likely to be ruled out of the fixture because of injury, former Mariner Sam Gallagher is likely to partner Jaliens in the centre of defence.

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