Best of the Pressers: O’Donovan rallies Roar fans ahead of Fowler’s home debut
Roy O’Donovan has urged Brisbane Roar fans to turn out in their droves to see their new-look side play their first home game under Robbie Fowler.
After a in Round 2 bye, Roar have waited patiently to make their return to Suncorp Stadium on Friday, 25 October, and Fowler’s squad know how important home form is to their chances this season.
Hear from Fowler and his players ahead of their clash with Melbourne Victory, plus all the pre-game chat ahead of the Sydney Derby and how the Premiers Perth Glory hope to improve, all in our 'Best of the Pressers' wrap ahead of Round 3.
‘Wear your orange and enjoy it’: O’Donovan pumps up Roar faithful
Fowler’s arrival in the off-season was met with much hype after Brisbane finished second last in a disappointing 2018/19 Hyundai A-League campaign. His dramatic squad overhaul has turned the Roar into an unknown prospect this season.
After an impressive draw against Premiers Perth Glory in Round 1, O’Donovan hopes fans get behind their side as they venture into a new era under their talismanic coach, beginning with Friday's clash with Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium.
“Brisbane Roar supporters need to come out and support us to see what we’re all about,” O’Donovan said.
“They’ll be pleasantly surprised.
“For a lot of our players it will be the first time playing at Suncorp.
“I can’t wait really, I think all the lads are buzzing now with the week off, and watching all the games on TV makes you itch to get back out there.
“To be on the right side of the Brisbane Roar faithful for a change, that will be nice.
“Get out there, wear your orange and enjoy it.”
Roar defender Scott Neville joined the Fowler revolution after departing Glory in the off-season, and is keen to quickly establish Suncorp as a fortress which opposing teams will fear to travel to.
“I think the tide has turned, everyone believes we’re a good side,” Neville said.
“No one is going to come to our home turf and bully us.
“We want to dictate games.”
It’s a milestone occasion for Neville tonight as he lines up in his 200th Hyundai A-League game, but as teammate Jay O’Shea plays just his second game in the league he’s no less motivated to remain unbeaten with a first home victory.
“I think in any season your home form is massive,” O’Shea said.
“If you want to do anything you need to be picking up wins at home.
“Obviously there’s a lot of new faces here, it’s going to be an exciting game for a lot of us that haven’t been to Suncorp yet, so we’re really looking forward to it.
“I haven’t been there yet so I’m looking forward to going when there’s a good crowd there, under lights it should be good.”
A first home game as a manager will hold plenty of sentimental value for ex-Liverpool star Fowler, but he’s not leaving room for emotion in the build up to the clash which kicks off at 7.30pm AEDT.
The 44-year-old is instead focussed solely on what matters most in the game: getting points on the board.
“We can all sugar coat performances, it is a results business that we’re in,” Fowler said.
Thomas eyes quick Victory turnaround
Melbourne Victory will be looking to spoil Brisbane's return to Suncorp Stadium and quickly turnaround their so-far underwhelming form.
Victory have scored only once, from the penalty spot, in two home games so far this season – in a draw and a loss against Melbourne City and Western Sydney respectively.
Now faced with the difficult challenge of travelling to face a fit and firing Brisbane outfit, Victory ‘keeper Lawrence Thomas says he and his teammates understand the pressures that come along when they underperform.
“Results-wise it’s not how we wanted to start,” Thomas said.
“The club and the stature we have, people want results straight away, and fair enough.
“We have a lot of belief in this team and what we’re trying to do, so we don’t look back too far, we’ve got to keep moving forward.
“It’s a big game, the coach has taken a good look at them and we’ve worked on a few things during the week.
“They’re a very solid team defensively with really physical players as well so it will be a tough challenge.”
Ikonomidis seeks improvement after inconsistent start
Perth Glory showed signs of their true calibre throughout the first two rounds of the season.
But not for long enough in the eyes of Chris Ikonomidis, who says the Premiers are determined to play better for longer, starting against Wellington Phoenix this Sunday afternoon.
“There’s positives and negatives,” Ikonomidis said.
“I think what we need to improve on is the length we dominate matches.
“We’ve started both matches quite strong, but it’s just a matter of getting our fitness and conditioning right to see out the games.
“I think we always come out strong, we kind of just squeeze out teams especially in the first half, but it’s just a matter of tightening up things and not letting them back into the game.”
It’s a notion consolidated by Glory boss Tony Popovic, who is prepared to be patient waiting for complete performances to come as his new-look side continues to gel together.
“I think it will just take time,” Popovic said.
“If you have a look there’s five to six new players on the pitch at the moment, and the majority of those are in the backline.
“You can see in the first half of both games there are really good, positive signs which is really encouraging for us.”
MATCH PREVIEW: Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
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