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 By AAP

Jakobsen in doubt for Melbourne City's vital clash with Wellington Phoenix

Michael Jakobsen
A thigh complaint could rule Melbourne City's Michael Jakobsen out of Saturday's clash with the Wellington Phoenix.

Melbourne City could be without captain Michael Jakobsen for their last-round duel with Wellington Phoenix.

The defensive stalwart will travel to Auckland but has a thigh issue which may see him miss the match that could decide City's AFC Champions League fate.

City sit third heading into Saturday's encounter.

Should Melbourne Victory upset Sydney FC on Friday night, they will need to beat the Nix to return to third place.

Jakobsen's injury is a bother for coach Warren Joyce, who has preached the merits of a settled side all season.

He's not made a change to his starting XI in three weeks, producing three wins in that run.

But should the Dane succumb to the complaint, which first popped up a fortnight ago, he'll turn to Harrison Delbridge, Manny Muscat or fit-again utility Osama Malik.

Iacopo La Rocca is not an option, with Joyce declaring him done for the season due to a calf injury.

Malik, a Joyce favourite, has missed the past month of football with a quad issue.

Having proved his fitness on the training track, Joyce is now torn between returning Malik to the team or persisting with a winning formula.

Without Malik, January signing Oliver Bozanic has stepped into the breach, combining with Luke Brattan and Stefan Mauk in midfield.

The Englishman said Malik's return to fitness was a good problem to have.

"You want competition for places all the way through the season," he said.

"The three that are playing there have build up a bit of an understanding and then it makes it hard for him.

"He has to bide his time and do everything he can to try to force himself get back in.

"But he's in the squad ... he's fit to play."

City can secure their best-ever A-League finish with a win in Wellington, or should Victory lose.

Joyce said that -- or securing the elusive ACL place -- wasn't his motivation.

"You just want to win games," he said. "We just approach it exactly like we've approached every game this season, go there and win the game, that's all anybody is focussed on.

"[Wellington have] got some good players and they've certainly got a cutting edge ... right up there with the top players in this league.

"They've a lot to play for as no side wants to finish bottom of the league.

"It's certainly not an easy game. It'll be tough and we need to be absolutely flat out."

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