Maclaren v Fornaroli: Who will take the prize in the battle of the strikers?

Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli has had one date pencilled into his diary ever since the A-League draw was made: December 6, when he gets the chance to return to AAMI Park to play his former team, Melbourne City.

Fornaroli was for three-and-a-half years a hero to the City faithful, banging in goals, creating chances for teammates and delighting the crowd, his outgoing character shining in every minute of every game.

But because of the acrimonious fallout with former coach Warren Joyce, which first saw him banished and then eventually moved out of the club, he never got the chance to farewell the people who mattered most to him - the supporters.

"Melbourne City, for me, it will be special, to come back to AAMI Park, for the fans and my own club," Fornaroli said as he looked forward to this match.

"I am very grateful and I have great memories there. But it was frustrating. You have to say goodbye in one moment, it's good to say goodbye in the field, to your fans, to say thank you for everything.

"But I am relaxed with myself, because I know I do everything for Melbourne City and the people working inside the club and the fans know this."

Bruno Fornaroli is enjoying life at Perth Glory.

He has been delighted with his move to Perth.

"I am happy again, I am enjoying life a lot. I missed a lot of football these last two years. It made me sad," he said in an interview earlier this season.

"After a long time without playing and a long pre-season too my body needed to play and feel that feeling.

"When the season starts, the goals come in, when you work hard the football pays."

His coach, Tony Popovic, is happy with his contribution so far, with two goals in seven games.

"His record speaks for itself, what he did for Melbourne City. He doesn't need to prove anything to anyone," Popovic said.

"He is playing well, he is maybe missing a bit of the luck in front of goal that maybe Jamie Maclaren [City's in-form striker] has got, so hopefully that will rub off. He is getting in the right areas, he is getting chances, he is hitting the post, he is there."

While Fornaroli might be getting the plaudits from his coach, Glory are struggling for form while City are looking to go back to the top of the table with a win in a match that promises to be a battle of the penalty box predators: Fornaroli and Socceroo striker Maclaren, who signed for City on January 31, just as Fornaroli moved out.

Maclaren has been a consistent scorer for the club since slotting into Fornaroli's spot. He netted five goals in the remainder of the 2018-19 season, but it is his form since August that has seen him become a fan favourite at AAMI Park.

Jamie Maclaren has starred for Melbourne City.

Maclaren scored four goals in pre-season and FFA Cup games but he has been white hot in the A-League, scoring nine goals in his four games.

Maclaren's appearances have been limited by injury and international call-ups, but he has shown himself to be lethal when he gets the chance.

He has notched doubles against Adelaide, Western United and Western Sydney as well as a hat-trick against Brisbane Roar in the A-League. In addition, he scored twice against Brisbane Strikers in the FFA Cup semi-final.

Fornaroli has taken time to bed into his new berth in Perth.

The Uruguayan has played all but 16 minutes of Glory's seven games, having netted twice and contributed one assist in that time.

Maclaren's nine goals has him well clear at the top of the A-League scorers' chart although Sydney's Adam Le Fondre, with seven, is closing in. Le Fondre, however, has played more regularly than Maclaren.


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