Collen no certainty to start

Star Belgian recruit Peter Collen is no certainty to start in Brisbane's crucial clash against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday night at Suncorp, according to Roar coach Ange Postecoglou.

Star Belgian recruit Peter Collen is no certainty to start in Brisbane's crucial clash against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday night at Suncorp, according to Roar coach Ange Postecoglou.

The Roar have struggled defensively in the last few weeks and the introduction of the former Belgian international could help them shore up their backline.

Postecoglou, however, seems inclined to give Collen as much time as possible to acclimatise to Australian conditions, and his chances of playing may depend on the fitness of Josh McCloughan who is struggling to overcome a hip flexor Injury.

"He's (Collen) going ok. It's obviously been a struggle this week with the weather. I haven't yet made a decision. We've got a problem with Josh Mcloughan as well, so it'll depend a bit on how he pulls up from injury," Postecoglou said.

"If Josh is ok we might start with Pete on the bench. If Josh's not ok we'll just throw him in and bite the bullet."

"He's probably fit enough, but the reality is it's such a long trip. He's had a turnaround in weather of ridiculous magnitude."

"Anyone who's travelled will tell you it takes a week or two to recover. But he's put his hand up, so he's not making any excuses."

The decision on Collen isn't the only selection Postecoglou has had to think about this week. The coach will bring Matt Mundy back into his side and give goalkeeper Matt Ham his Hyundai A-league debut.

Ham comes in for the out-of-sorts Griffin McMaster and Postecoglou will be hoping the big gloveman, who's been in good touch on the practice pitch, will inject some resolve into the shaky Roar defense.

"He's worked hard at training after coming in four of five weeks ago," said Postecoglou, "Obviously Griff's struggled the last couple of weeks and has a bit of an injury as well. In my mind I think we need to find out what Matt's about as well."

"He's a big imposing guy and we've been leaking goals. Sometimes when you give somebody an opportunity they grab it and he's certainly hungry enough so he'll start."

"You just don't know till you throw them out there. That's the reality of it. We're in a position where we've got to give him an opportunity. It's up to him to grab it."

"He's been close a couple of years back then he had a shoulder injury that set him back. It'll be a big test for him. But he's a big guy, he's mature, he's been playing regularly and he wants an opportunity so he gets it."

The reintroduction of Mundy at left back is, for Postecoglou, another change designed to bolster the Brisbane defensive line. Attacking weapon Michael Zullo has been playing at left back, but given the Roar's current form and ladder position, Mundy is being preferred for his strong defense.

"I've been really happy with Matty for a few weeks now. He's been pushing for selection," Postecoglou said.

"We've played with Zulls there and he's a more attacking player. I think it's a good option for us when the team's going well, but we've been leaking goals in the last few weeks."

"Matty's really good defensively. And as I've said he's earned a crack at it. He's trained really well this week."

Tommy Oar is another issue of concern for the Roar and Postecoglou admitted he had been a bit flat in recent games.

"He hasn't played as well as he'd have liked in the last couple of games," Postecoglou said. "For young players sometimes the easy bit's when they first break in. Obviously every time we play now clubs are saying we've got to shut down Tommy Oar - he understands that and knows he has to keep working hard."

"We'll see whether he starts tomorrow night. He'll be in the squad and we'll throw him on at some stage if he doesn't start. He's itching to get back in. He wasn't feeling the best last week and he wants to make amends for that as well."

Veteran defender Danny Tiatto is once again unavailable for selection due to injury. Although Tiatto was sanctioned by the Roar during the week for criticising Postecoglou's 'silent treatment', the Brisbane coach would not be drawn into retaliating on Friday.

"(Our relationship is) the same as it's always been. He's the player, I'm the coach," Postecoglou said.

"Danny has a bit of a groin problem this week, so he's not up for selection. He doesn't come across my radar - he's working with the medical crew."