Enhanced Sky Blues seek to retain crown

Sydney FC are hoping increased squad depth will help the reigning Westfield W-League queens retain their crown.

Sydney FC are hoping increased squad depth will help the reigning Westfield W-League queens retain their crown.

The Sky Blues are undoubtedly W-League royalty having twice been crowned champions and as perennial challengers at the top of the ladder.

So too, their side inevitably contains a host of players with international experience, with the coming season no different.

They have lost some key personnel in the likes of Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy. However the return of two players that have been pivotal in the club-s historic success - Leena Khamis and Danielle Brogan - adds a well-known and strong look to the line-up.

There are plenty of other familiar contributors such as Renee Rollason, Ellyse Perry and the under-rated Teresa Polias.

Throw in the unpredictable attacking talent of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord - both of whom will be enriched as footballers after playing in the inaugural season of USA-s professional league - and the Sky Blues present a sizable obstacle for an opponent.

The Sydneysiders will also have the chance to take on the world-s best, and enhance their football experiences at the same time, when they play in the International Club Challenge in Japan later this month.

They will miss at least one round of the league season, which will be made up at a later date, when they tackle Chilean club Colo-Colo, Japan champs INAC Kobe Leonessa and a European representative.

Sydney boss Alen Stajcic, the only coach to have featured in all six seasons of the Westfield W-League, believes his squad has unprecedented depth given the rapid development of his younger brigade.

“We have a very good roster, certainly in terms of depth, probably the best we have ever had,” said Stajcic.

“We have never really had 18 or 19 players competing for a realistic starting spot. We have always had a few youngsters in the squad. This is the first time I can honestly say the number 18 player is competing for a starting spot.

“Now the likes of Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison who were squad players last year, are really competing for a starting spot.

“The top six teams, including us, have improved further. It will be a tough and fierce competition between those teams.”

The Sky Blues will kick off their Westfield W-League title defence away to Melbourne Victory on Sunday with the match televised live at 3pm to AEDT states.

They will open their home campaign against Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Saturday 16 November.

Sydney FC (Coach Alen Stajcic)

Ins: Casey Dumont (returns from injury) Danielle Brogan (returns from injury) Alesha Clifford (Western Sydney Wanderers) Trudi Camilleri (Western Sydney Wanderers) Jodie Taylor (Gothenburg, Sweden) Melissa Caceres (Marconi) Leena Khamis (returns from injury)

Outs: Kyah Simon (Western Sydney Wanderers) Alanna Kennedy (Western Sydney Wanderers) Britney Whitfield Sian McLaren (Sydney University) Meg McLaughlin (Canberra United) Annalie Longo (Mainland Pride, New Zealand) Hannah Bromley (Northbridge FC) Larissa Crummer (Brisbane Roar)