A-League club to take on FC Bendigo in pre-season friendly
A-LEAGUE soccer club Melbourne City is headed to Bendigo in September for a friendly against FC Bendigo.
FC Bendigo will host Melbourne City under lights on Tuesday, September 2 at the Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve football oval.
FC Bendigo operations manager Brock Rogers hopes to attract a crowd of up to 3000.
"The reasoning behind playing it on the football oval is we can guarantee the quality of the surface... it's probably the best surface in Bendigo at the moment having to meet certain requirements for the Bendigo Pioneers and Bendigo Gold," Rogers said on Wednesday.
"And the lights will meet match standard. They are the two keys for Melbourne City to play - the surface and the lighting, which we can guarantee for them."
The friendly will be played just over a month out from Melbourne City's opening game of the 2014-15 A-League season against Sydney FC on Saturday, October 11.
The kick-off for the game is yet to be confirmed, but it's likely to be about 6.30pm.
"Having FC Bendigo playing at the level we do (National Premier League), I asked the question to Melbourne City of whether they'd be interested in playing us in a pre-season game," Rogers said.
"It's very exciting that Melbourne City has agreed to play us and it shows the doors that FC Bendigo as a newly-created club can open."
Among the Melbourne City stars who could be headed to Bendigo is midfielder Robert Koren, who has just signed as the club's international marquee player.
Koren captained Slovenia at the 2010 World Cup and joins Melbourne City from English Premier League club Hull City.
Melbourne City - formerly Melbourne Heart - is shaping as one of this season's glamour A-League clubs, having also signed Spanish striker David Villa for 10 games and Irish international Damien Duff.
"When you look at the quality players Melbourne City is bringing out, if only one or two of them played half-a-game in Bendigo, it would draw a massive crowd," Rogers said.
"And being only a few weeks out from the start of the season, those guys will want to get match time, so hopefully, some of those big names will be in town, which will be great for soccer in Bendigo."