McCormack prognosis lifts City as striker search looms

Melbourne City's need for new strikers is acute following the dumping of injury-plagued Fernando Brandan, the departure of Socceroos legend Tim Cahill and the slow return of club captain Bruno Fornaroli.

The Bundoora-based club - which has the backing of owner City Football Group's extensive global scouting network - can be expected to be an interested and aggressive recruiter in the January transfer window, as it looks to bolster its championship chase with more firepower.

But although he won't be around for the immediate future after sustaining a knee injury in the 3-1 loss to Sydney last Friday, Ross McCormack could be appearing up front in sky blue much sooner than anyone forecast, after scans cleared him of what was suspected to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

McCormack limped out of the unlucky defeat in NSW fearing the worst - that not only would his injury mean he would not play for City again before his loan period expired at the end of January, but that he might not play this season or perhaps ever again.

A long lay-off at this point in the 31-year-old's career could have spelt curtains for the forward, who is still owned by English Championship club Aston Villa. But City now expect McCormack to be training fully within weeks - which could mean he still has some role to play with the team.

The former Scotland international has already begun rehabilitation work and, in a best-case scenario, could begin training again before the new year.

Fornaroli has been out of action since being injured in an FFA Cup tie during the winter, but he remains on course to return in late January or early February.

With the Argentinian Brandan's departure, City now have a foreign visa spot available, which they could use to target an experienced striker in the next window. Until then, youngsters such as Daniel Arzani and Braedyn Crowley could get a chance in the starting line-up, beginning with this weekend's derby against Melbourne Victory.

Australian-American defender Harrison Delbridge, who signed a three-year deal with City in late November, is also able to play for his new side from January 1.

This story McCormack prognosis lifts City as striker search looms first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.