The relentless Sydney FC, fresh from their "dog-fight" Big Blue win, roll into Suncorp with a confident Brisbane Roar awaiting them in this top-three "state of origin" blockbuster.
Friday, 3 February 2017
Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: 6:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Brisbane, ABC Radio Sydney, ABC Radio Qld/NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live ( www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio )
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 29.Joe CALETTI
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Corey BROWN (returns from suspension), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted), 29.Joe CALETTI (promoted)
Outs: 28.Brandon BORRELLO (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 33.Joey KATEBIAN (concussion – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 23.Rhyan GRANT (return from suspension).
Outs: 7.Michael ZULLO (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – indefinite)
This is one of the Sky Blues' least favourite away trips in the Hyundai A-League, with Sydney FC managing just three wins at Suncorp in 18 visits.
But in the 2016/17 Season, Graham Arnold’s side has had a habit of breaking records and smashing hoodoos.
They remain on track to go through the campaign unbeaten and hold an imposing 11-point lead at the Hyundai A-League summit following their Australia Day 2-1 Big Blue win over Melbourne Victory.
While Roar is in third place on the ladder, they are 16 points behind and were beaten 2-0 when the two sides met in Sydney in December.
Sydney will be without in-form left-back Michael Zullo through suspension, although Rhyan Grant returns from his one-game ban and is the favourite to slot into Zullo’s spot.
Ex-Caltex Socceroo left-back David Carney is another - more likely - option for Arnie if he prefers Grant to resume playing on the right.
Roar is chasing their third win in a week after following up their victory over the Wanderers last weekend with a midweek 6-0 rout of Global FC in their ACL qualifier.
While they have a clash with Carlos Tevez and Shanghai Shenhua in China to look forward to the following Wednesday night in China, they can’t afford to look past the Sky Blues or it might be a long night at the office.
Confidence won’t be an issue for John Aloisi’s side as they look over their mini form slump which saw them lose three straight. Though the loss of on-fire striker Brandon Borrello is a huge blow (though we're excited about the promotion of striker Shannon Brady, who looked handy on Tuesday night in the ACL).
It will be interesting to see what the Roar boss does with his starting side, with one eye on the ACL qualifier next week he'll have a tricky selection conundrum ahead of this most difficult of tasks.
ROUTE TO GOAL
After a lean few weeks, Roar’s mojo in front of goal looks to be back.
But on this occasion, the man who's been firing up of late, Brandon Borrello, misses this one through suspension.
It should open up the door for Brett Homan to start and he’s been another big factor in their resurgence over the last week.
The ex-Caltex Socceroos star missed two months with injury but hasn’t missed a beat since his return. He has the ability to provide real moments of class and also an eye for goal from midfield, as we saw against the Wanderers.
If Holman and leading-scorer Jamie Maclaren can get back on the same wavelength, the Roar will be onto a winner. And look out for a cameo late from young striker Shannon Brady, who shone on Tuesday night in the ACL.
At the other end though, it’s hard to see how Roar’s defence can stop the Sky Blues juggernaut.
Sydney has the best attack (38 goals from 17 games) but also the most versatile strikeforce, with different types of threats right across the front four.
Bernie Ibini continued his impressive comeback from serious injury with the winning goal in the Big Blue on Australia Day and must be close to earning a starting spot.
But if not he’s quite a weapon to bring off the bench against a tiring defence.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK
Brandon Borrello. The striker became the first Australian to score four goals in the ACL - underlining why his suspension for this game is a huge blow for Roar.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Sydney FC: WWDWW
Brisbane Roar 1-2 Sydney FC