Close to regaining full fitness after a year hampered by injury, Brisbane Roar midfielder Massimo Murdocca says he faces two major hurdles in his attempt to play his first full game this Hyundai A-League season.
Murdocca admits he has his own fitness battles to contend with, but says he faces a larger challenge in the abundance of exciting midfield prospects currently plying their trade for the Roar.
Brisbane has welcomed the likes of Erik Paartalu and Thomas Broich into the midfield of the starting eleven this season, but Murdocca highlighted the recent resurgence of form by 21-year-old Mitch Nichols as the biggest threat.
“There are two problems,” he said.
“One, I-ve got to fully get over my injuries and two, Mitch is playing very well and he-s not a bad option to bring on at the end of the game.
“If Mitch keeps playing well, there-s the possibility that I might not play the full 90 minutes for a while, but I-ll definitely be pushing hard to try and get back to my best again.
“Once I do that, hopefully I-ll get the chance to play a full game.”
In his five seasons with the Roar, Murdocca has played within many different midfield combinations but says this year-s crop was among the best.
Murdocca said he was overwhelmed by the impact of German import Thomas Broich, who has spent the opening third of the season wowing fans, commentators and teammates with his creative play and hardworking attitude.
“I-ve played with a lot of good players, like Charlie (Miller) and Danny Tiatto, but Thomas is definitely up there as well,” he said.
“He-s just so fit and I think that-s one attribute that players like Miller and Tiatto didn-t have.
“They both had experience, but I think Thomas adds that experience again.
“It-s always important for us to have those experienced players in the team and hopefully Thomas can stick around for a long time.”
When asked about his own fitness levels, Murdocca said he was satisfied with his gradual progress, especially after breaking his leg last year and nursing a quad injury at the start to the season.
Despite a dazzling hour-long display in Sunday-s win over Perth Glory, the 26-year-old was adamant he had more to offer.
“I think there were a few glimpses of my best, but I don-t think I-m back to 100% yet,” he said.
“It was definitely a massive positive to go through that 60 minutes without feeling any pain in any part of my body.
“I think the last couple of games, I-ve had a problem whether it was my gluts or my hamstring or my quad.
“To finally get through a 60 minute period where I didn-t have any issues at all was the main positive.”
Brisbane-s next match is against Newcastle Jets on Saturday 16 October, kicking off at 7.45pm. This is earlier than originally scheduled.
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