Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic is embracing his race against the clock as he looks to prove his fitness for Sunday’s A-League grand final.
Ninkovic, who tied with Ulises Davila for this season’s Johnny Warren Medal on Wednesday night, missed last Saturday’s semi-final win over Adelaide with a calf strain.
The 36-year-old trained by himself, away from Sydney’s main group at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday, as he attempts to build fitness before Sunday’s clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
“I feel all right. I trained yesterday, I did some running,” Ninkovic told reporters.
“I still have three more days before the game and hopefully I will be fine.”
Ninkovic admitted the grand final being pushed back a day from Saturday to Sunday had given him a better shot at proving his fitness, but was uncertain how much game time he would be able to deliver if he played.
“No idea, really no idea. We’re gonna see how it’s gonna be in the next few days and then obviously we’re gonna make a decision,” he said.
“… The grand final is the grand final – (it’s) one game and obviously you need to have 100 per cent-ready players.
“We’ll see and then obviously before the game I’m going to have a chat with Bimbi (coach Steve Corica) and they’re going to make a decision.”
It has been a hectic week for the Sydney FC attacking maestro.
Ninkovic was one of several players who had to move out of their homes in Sydney’s “red zones” on Tuesday night before flying to Melbourne on Wednesday evening.
“It’s been crazy, the last three days” he said.
“But the most important thing for us is that we are here and we have four days to prepare.”
The 36-year-old joked the “amazing achievement” of winning his second Johnny Warren Medal showed he “still can play” ahead of his bid for a fourth championship.
“I didn’t expect it to be honest because I was more focused on my injury and the grand final,” he said.
“I had a goal before the season to win the grand final and … become the first team in history (to complete an A-League three-peat).
“… We are so close but we know that it’s not going to be easy because City is a good team. Obviously it’s going to be hard but I still believe in our squad.”