Iraqi star 'pumped' for Wanderers showdown

Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant says teammate Ali Abbas is fired up for the Sydney Derby and feels the Sky Blues have plenty more improvement in them.

Grant said Abbas was “pumped” for his return to Wanderland – where he suffered a serious knee injury 14 months ago – but is adamant the Iraqi will treat the contest just like any other match.

The Sky Blues are likely to take an unchanged side into the clash, with only Aaron Calver and Alex Mullen joining an extended squad that will head to Sydney’s west.

The main selection dilemma for Arnold surrounds his main striking option and whether he sticks with teenager George Blackwood or goes for one of experienced duo Matt Simon or Shane Smeltz from the start.

“I think we played quite well on the weekend but I still think there’s a few more gears we can kick into if we really need to,” the versatile Grant told reporters on Thursday.

“We controlled the game [against Newcastle Jets] on the weekend in patches it’s just a matter of doing it for the full 90.

“Against the Wanderers, they are a good team, a good outfit so we’re going to have to be on our toes.

“This week, the way training’s been we’re quietly confident we can do the job.”