Bridge rejects fitness jibe

Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge has rejected talk a lack of fitness is behind the Sky Blues' woeful start to the A-League season.

Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge has rejected talk a lack of fitness is behind the Sky Blues' woeful start to the A-League season.

The defending champions have made a habit so far this campaign of starting well and getting to a lead before letting their advantage slip.

Vitezslav Lavicka's side have scored the opening goal in five matches this season - and led at half-time in three of those - but have yet to taste victory in nine games.

It's a worrying trend for the Sky Blues and one they must overcome soon if they are to work their way up the A-League ladder.

Ahead of Saturday night's blockbuster with fierce rivals Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium, Bridge denied claims his side was unfit and believes it's simply a matter of time before their fortunes turn.

"It's just concentration...our fitness levels are there," Bridge said on Thursday.

"They're exactly the same as last year if not better. You don-t get the chance to cheat wearing heart-rate monitors and a GPS every session."

"It's no lack of fitness it's just a few minutes here and there we slack off and get punished."

"If we get that under wraps we'll be sweet."

"We've been playing well we're just missing the element of luck but as soon as it turns around we'll go on a (winning) streak."

"Hopefully it's this week; we couldn-t find better opposition to turn our luck around against."

Sydney's chances have been helped with marquee midfielder Nicky Carle (toe) and defender Sung-Hwan Byun (hamstring) both back in the squad from injury.

Carle has missed the last four games but has trained with the squad all week and with their season on the line could come straight back into the starting line-up.

"Nicky is back after a long-term injury and we're all happy about this," Lavicka said.

"We're delighted he's available because he's a key player."

"We need to decide whether he will start or begin on the bench."

"It's always a big game between Melbourne and Sydney FC."

"We must keep our emotions in check, maintain discipline and work hard. We have to be patient and improve our possession."