Culina won't be rushed

Jason Culina's personal intuition - not the club's on-field predicament - will decide when the Socceroos midfielder will return to action for new club Sydney FC.

Jason Culina's personal intuition - not the club's on-field predicament - will decide when the Socceroos midfielder will return to action for new club Sydney FC.

Culina hasn't played a competitive match in almost two years after injuring his knee at last year's Asian Cup.

But the 32-year-old has been working overtime with Sky Blues physio Stan Ivancic over the last four months and is edging closer to a long-awaited return to the field.

With Sydney struggling to get their season going, the addition of Culina to their midfield would be quite the tonic for Ian Crook's side.

Asked when the classy midfielder would be ready to go, the Sky Blues boss said he would leave the final decision in Culina's hands.

"You need to remember he's had a long time out," Crook said.

"The one thing we don't want to do is rush him back in because results haven't been great and we're pushing too early.

"We'll make sure that he's 100 percent right and he's the best judge of that.

"He knows his body better than anyone else and what he needs to do.

"Once he gets himself to the stage where he believes he can compete for a place then we'll look to use him."

While Crook is pushing the cautious approach with his new signing, judging from Sydney's displays over the opening fortnight they need him almost immediately.

The Sky Blues are trying to implement a fluent, short-passing game this season and there are not too many better than Culina at pulling it off.

"Obviously there's a few areas we need to tighten up on," Crook said.

"We got a little bit better last weekend from the previous weekend and we need to keep progressing on.

"It's going to be a big one, it's sold out and we're on the back of two losses.

"It's derby day and you can't really practice what a derby is like.

"It's just emotion and we're really looking forward to it."

In a big blow to the Sky Blues, however, defender Pascal Bosschaart has been ruled out of Saturday night's clash after picking up an injury at training on Friday.

The experienced Dutchman pulled up with a sore back and hip injury during Sydney's final session ahead of the derby, in a cruel blow for winless Sydney, who are also without fellow central defender Adam Griffiths with a hamstring strain.

Bosschaart's setback has nothing to do with the Achilles injury that has had him on the sidelines for seven months but means he will need to wait at least another week to make his comeback.