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Josh back home again

Josh Kennedy is back home playing for Melbourne City. Picture: GETTY IMAGESTHE Border’s Josh Kennedy will join Melbourne City as their Australian marquee player in January but is unlikely to play until a month later.
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City confirmed the long-rumoured signing yesterday, though the Socceroo striker won’t join the A-League side until his contract with Japanese club Nagoya Grampus ends on December 31.

The 32-year-old’s six years in the J-League have been fruitful, winning the title with Nagoya in 2010, and becoming the league’s top scorer in 2010 and 2011.

Kennedy said the timing was right to leave Japan and head back to his home state.

“I’m very excited about this project,” he said.

“It’s a new chapter in my career but my goal will be the same — to help my club achieve all of its aspirations.

“I believe Melbourne City has huge potential.”

When fit, Kennedy is likely to be a walk-up start for coachJohn van ‘t Schip’s men.

City’s January 4 away date with Central Coast will come too soon for Kennedy, with the league breaking for the Asian Cup.

That means City fans can pencil in the February 1 home meeting with Western Sydney for his debut.

Kennedy started his junior career at Twin City and Boomers and scored the crucial goal to seal Australia’s qualification for the 2014 world cup in a 1-0 win over Iraq.

But he failed to make the Socceroos’ squad due to a back injury.

With 17 goals in 33 Socceroo appearances, his scoring record has encouraged Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip to again invest in his forward line.

“Josh’s record shows that he is a proven goal scorer and, with the high quality of players around him, we are confident that he can create significant problems for defences in the A-League,” van ‘t Schip said.

“He is the right person and the right player for Melbourne City FC and we look forward to him joining us in January.”

City’s signing of Kennedy comes soon after the departure of another international striker — Spanish legend David Villa.

Villa’s four-game spell with the club yielded just two points, equalling their previous entity Heart’s worst start to an A-League season.

Club captain Patrick Kisnorbo said for all of Villa’s star power, he was also “a little bit” of a distraction.

“He’s a big, big player,” Kisnorbo said.

“We were privileged to have him here but, now he’s gone, we need to move forward as a playing group.

“Now someone else gets a chance in that position that he filled.”

Speaking before the announcement of Kennedy’s signing, Kisnorbo said expectations at the club had risen, but not directly from new owners City Football Group.

Kisnorbo said pressure on the club to perform came from inside the locker room, and would not be a talking point without the new ownership.

“If the City group hadn’t taken over, I don’t think these questions would be asked,” he said.

“Obviously, there’s expectation with us, and that’s fine by us.

“We should only need to worry about what we do as a playing group and what we to do to go forward.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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