City's Uruguayan signing set for FFA Cup debut

Melbourne City FC fans could get a first glimpse of new Uruguayan signing Bruno Fornaroli after he was tipped by his coach to feature at some point against Wellington Phoenix in Wednesday night's Westfield FFA Round of 16 clash at AAMI Park.

"He's in the squad, so for sure he's going to be part of the game," City coach John van 't Schip told reporters on Tuesday.

"We'll just have to see how many minutes and how far. But looking at him in training, he's making a good impression."

FFA Cup preview: Melbourne City FC v Wellington Phoenix

Meanwhile,  City's opponents Phoenix have snared Jeffrey Sarpong to play alongside Roly Bonevacia with the signing confirmed today. 

Sarpong, a former Netherlands Under-21 international and ex-Real Sociedad player, is unlikely to be involved in the FFA Cup on Wednesday night.

But their latest acquisition is more than merely a familiar face for van 't Schip, who taught the attacking midfielder during his time on the coaching staff at one of world football's most respected academies.

And the City boss even turned down an opportunity to recruit the 27-year-old, preferring instead to sign Harry Novillo on a permanent basis and bring in Bruno Fornaroli for A-League Season 11, which kicks off in early October. 

"I had him, I know him very well," van 't Schip said when asked about his former pupil Sarpong.

"He was actually offered to us a month ago, two months ago. I responded, 'we can't, because our foreign spots in the positions that we want are already taken'. 

"But [he's] a good player. I know him. He can play on the wings, he can play in the midfield. Very attacking kind of positions. He's left, right, very mobile. Has a good shot.

Jeffrey Sarpong

"I had him for a year with me at Ajax. He moved on to Spain first, to Real Sociedad and then came back to Holland.

"He was in the national youth team and one of the most promising players [at] the [Under-17] World Cup in Peru in 2005 I think. 

"But he didn't really progress to what everybody expected. But still, the talent is there. His football is there. I think Wellington made a good signing with him."

There's certainly no shame in such a young, raw talent failing to live up to the hype that typically accompanies any promising Ajax player. 

When it comes to Wellington's expectations of their new recruit, Sarpong will benefit from the presence of compatriot Bonevacia, who starred for Ernie Merrick's men last season in the A-League. 

"He's coming from the same school, they know each other from Ajax," van 't Schip said of the two Dutchmen.

"Roly has done very well for them last year, so I think they hope to have the same with Jeffrey Sarpong. I'm sure he will do good here [in the A-League]".

** For any goal scored by an amateur or semi-professional club against a Hyundai A-League team during the Westfield FFA Cup, NAB will kick-back $2,500 to the goal-scorer's club.