Farina favours Tiatto

Brisbane Roar coach Frank Farina has nominated dogged veteran Danny Tiatto as the man to slot into the hole left in the Roar's side by the absence of dynamic midfielder Massimo Murdocca ahead of the inaugural South-East Queensland Hyundai A-League derby against Gold Coast united on Saturday night.

Brisbane Roar coach Frank Farina has nominated dogged veteran Danny Tiatto as the man to slot into the hole left in the Roar's side by the absence of dynamic midfielder Massimo Murdocca ahead of the inaugural South-East Queensland Hyundai A-League derby against Gold Coast united on Saturday night.

Murdocca's broken leg was the lowest point of an unproductive pre-season for the Roar and there had been some conjecture over who would partner Matt McKay in the middle for the club.

Tiatto, generally deployed as a holding midfielder, played alongside McKay in the Roar's final training session before this weekend's heavily anticipated A-League clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Farina confirmed Tiatto was 'a little underdone', but backed the former Socceroo to start on Saturday as the lynchpin and adjust his usually stodgy style.

However the amount of time Tiatto, who overcame back and hamstring niggles during the pre-season, would play was still unknown.

"If we get an hour I'll be very, very happy, but you never know with Danny," Farina said.

"He's one of those strange characters who can play after they dislocated a shoulder, or (with) two broken toes or a broken thumb. Nothing he does will surprise me."

Roar skipper Craig Moore said the club must be careful to nurture Tiatto, especially with the 'irreplaceable' Murdocca expected to miss until Round 9 or 10.

"He's had a very stop-start pre-season, so it's important that we … don't push him too hard," Moore said.

"I think we just need to be extremely careful in terms of Danny Tiatto, as far as looking after him and making sure he gets through the season injury-free."

Scottish import Bob Malcolm trained as Moore's partner in the heart of the Roar's defence and is likely to start against United, with Farina admitting Young Socceroo defender Luke DeVere will be benched.

Moore was looking forward to seeing what former Rangers teammate Malcolm would bring to the table in his Hyundai A-League debut.

"Big Bob has obviously played at a very high level, he's still not 100 percent fit, ideally he would be someone that would sit in front of the back four," he said.

"He'll offer a bit of stability and it's good that you can bring good players into the team, because the depth at times is something that is questioned at a lot of clubs."

"He's a big boy. He's a real competitor and that's something that I think is important to have."

Livewire Michael Zullo, who endured a turbulent pre-season due to a shoulder injury, has been named on the Roar's extended bench and Farina said he was a chance to play a cameo.

With a heated buildup that dates back over a year ago to United chairman Clive Palmer's inaugural press conference and bold declaration that his side would go through the Hyundai A-League season undefeated, both Moore and Farina admitted they were happy to see the season opener finally arrive.

Moore conceded it had been a difficult pre-season, but that the change in demeanor around the club had been noticeable over the last few weeks.

"It's been a really long pre-season … 16 to 17 weeks of training away, there has been games thrown in there - but apart from the Celtic match, performances have been extremely flat."

"That's unfortunate … but fortunately for us you don't win anything in pre-season. Results haven't been fantastic for us, there's no getting away from that."

"But come Saturday I'm pretty sure you'll see a different Roar side that will be extremely hungry."

"We're going to go into the game extremely confident of getting a result."

Farina admitted training sessions were becomingly increasingly volatile as competition for starting positions heated up amongst his charges.

"A few incidents have happened, players getting heated and having heated arguments, which is always good," he said.

"It certainly has lifted … it reminds me of when I use to play, that sort of stuff I welcome as long as it's not silly or over the top."

"There's frustration. Frustration with injures and niggles that they've got or frustrations with other players who are a bit cheeky sometimes."

"I think the atmosphere has been very good and the proof will be in the pudding when we start."