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 By AAP

Melb City boss Warren Joyce denies Ross McCormack, Tim Cahill rifts

Jason Dasey and Gary Phillips assess what Australia must improve upon ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has denied suspending Ross McCormack, a rift with Tim Cahill and suspicions of internal strife at his club ahead of Friday night's A-League meeting with Perth Glory.

City's star Scottish international, who has endured achilles issues for months, missed last weekend's 3-1 loss at Brisbane Roar.

Joyce cited his troublesome tendon as the reason McCormack didn't travel to Queensland, but reports this week stated the 31-year-old was stood down after missing training.

McCormack was internally suspended last year for missing a training session at Championship club Aston Villa.

Joyce called the reports "wrong," accusing journalists of trying to "dig up dirt on him and trying to harm his career."

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"I know what goes on at this football club. I don't have to read the papers ... I didn't think he was going to be right for the game," he said.

"Ask around the dressing room. He's a popular lad.

"I think he's more popular with the kit man because he gave his $500 cheque from Fox Sports (for man of the match against Adelaide in round four) away because he didn't think he'd played great."

Joyce then confused matters by saying if McCormack was suspended, he "possibly wouldn't" say in any case.

"There's been a lot of players this season we've disciplined internally and we've not wrote about or heard about or made an issue out of it," he said.

On the Cahill front, Joyce was more relaxed.

Warren Joyce
Warren Joyce has been in charge of Melbourne City since June.

The Socceroos great raised eyebrows last week for suggesting he might need to leave City if he didn't get more game time, in order to prepare for the World Cup.

Joyce suggested this was a case of a player being hungry to play -- and exactly what he wanted.

"He's done well for us when he's come off the bench and the last game he was available for us he started," he said.

"I have no problems with Tim Cahill at all ... he's trained this week like the rest of the boys. We've got on with the week."

The club says both Cahill and McCormack are available for the visit of Perth.

Stats that matter

- City conceded 13 goals in four meetings with Perth Glory last season -- drawing once and losing the other three.

- Glory dumped City out of the finals last April with a 2-0 win at AAMI Park in their elimination final.

- City striker Ross McCormack has put more shots on target (12) than any other A-League player this season.

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