Okon calls on senior players

Gold Coast assistant coach Paul Okon has called on the club's senior players to lead the fledgling club out of its mid-season slump.

Gold Coast assistant coach Paul Okon has called on the club's senior players to lead the fledgling club out of its mid-season slump.

Speaking ahead of Saturday night's crucial home fixture with Sydney FC, Okon challenged his players to rise to the occasion and rediscover their early season form for the clash which he feels has inherent motivation.

"This is definitely a game you want to play to get back on track," Okon said.

"To be playing at home, against the team that is coming first, well if you can't be motivated for that then there is something wrong."

The former Socceroo conceded that Gold Coast had fallen away in all parts of the game, but identified on-field talk as one area where his side could start to resurrect its season.

"Communication is definitely one area we need to pick up," he said.

"I think the more senior players - Jason (Culina), Shane Smeltz and Michael (Thwaite) - need to stand up and take ownership of that and spur on everyone else to follow them."

Okon said that United would not defer too far from the game-plan which saw them fall at the hands of North Queensland last week.

In a surprise move Joel Porter and Zenon Caravella sat on the bench, while Tahj Minniecon made his first start up-front and Jefferson ran on for his first taste of the A-League.

"The horrible thing when you make changes and don't get the result is that moire often than not people start to question the changes, but I think we will go with more or less the same 11," Okon said.

"The fact is that if you don't play as a team then you won't get results, we have been a bit disjointed from front to back and we need to be more compact knowing that Sydney has three very exciting players up front."

"We are not going to be able to allow them any space between midfield and attack if we want to win."

Considering there is a very real chance that Gold Coast could lose touch with the top echelon should it lose on Saturday, Okon was not putting all his eggs in one basket in regards to the Round 14 result.

"We are optimistic and positive, we are not looking at where we sit on the table but we know what it means to win and what it means to lose," he said.

"At the same time, we hope to get that top-spot back as quickly as possible. There is a bit of pride to be restored here, the results haven't been great but there is no better way to get back on track then against Sydney who is the best side in the competition at the moment."