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James Troisi’s stint on the sidelines opens up an opportunity for two of his team mates to take on his role as the No. 10, writes Marissa Lordanic.
By
Marissa Lordanic

13 Oct 2016 - 4:02 PM  UPDATED 13 Oct 2016 - 4:02 PM

Troisi fell in Melbourne Victory’s draw to Brisbane Roar and fractured his collarbone. He had surgery on Saturday and is expected to be out for up to a month.

This allows either Fahid Ben Khalfallah or Oliver Bozanic to play behind Besart Berisha and, after underwhelming campaigns last season, the chance to impress in a new role might be exactly what these players need.

Whoever steps up to fill Troisi’s place will affect the configuration and balance of the midfield – with one being more defensive than the other.

With Khalfallah as the No. 10, the rest of the midfield could go in as it did against the Roar, with Carl Valeri and Bozanic.

The Tunisian has publicly stated his desire to play in the midfield, deeming it his “best position”.  In his two years at Victory, Khalfallah has played almost exclusively on the wing.

A break out season in 2014-15 saw him score five goals, make nine assists in the regular season and win the Victory medal.

While he scored the same number of goals in 2015-16, he had only five assists and didn’t make the same impact as the season prior.

A Bozanic-led midfield could see Leigh Broxham make a return to the midfield alongside Valeri.

With Broxham and Valeri – two defensively minded players – anchoring the midfield, this combination may be used in Saturday’s derby if the focus is placed on nullifying the threats posed by Melbourne City’s attack.  

Bozanic is another player who has struggled to make an impact. As a marquee there is an expectation for him to deliver and there are some question marks over whether those expectations have been met.

His quality has been shown in bursts over his time at the club and a move into the more creative role, rather than playing as the box-to-box midfielder, could be what he needs to show that quality consistently.

Bozanic played as a No. 10 during his time in Switzerland and it earnt him plenty of praise from his club, FC Luzern.

Khalfallah and Bozanic both have the potential to do well in Troisi’s place and there is no bigger stage than the Melbourne derby to impress in a new position.

The occasion may influence who ultimately gets the role but Kevin Muscat has two potentially great options to choose from.