Paartalu in GCU crosshairs

Brisbane's Erik Paartalu is firmly in Gold Coast's crosshairs as Miron Bleiberg's men aim to keep the Roar's distribution king quiet during Friday's M1 derby at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane's Erik Paartalu is firmly in Gold Coast's crosshairs as Miron Bleiberg's men aim to keep the Roar's distribution king quiet during Friday's M1 derby at Suncorp Stadium.

The 25-year-old midfielder has been earmarked by United coaching staff as the one player they must stop in order to beat the Roar and end their incredible 30-game undefeated streak once and for all.

Though he plays deep in front of the back four, Paartalu is generally the starting point for most of Brisbane's attacks and Gold Coast captain Michael Thwaite can't understand why Hyundai A-League sides don't pay more attention to him.

"It really frustrates me to see when teams go against him, for him to be given a free role," Thwaite said.

"Anyone can look good when there's no pressure on you. It's very easy to play when you don't have pressure on you."

"He can just pin passes everywhere because he doesn't have that pressure. Everything comes through him."

"He's got very good distribution skills and we just need to have someone on him so they can't play out and force them high."

Thwaite believes Gold Coast's new-look rearguard is well-equipped to nullify the threats posed by Paartalu and the rest of Brisbane Roar's attacking arsenal.

The United skipper himself is the only regular member of the side's defensive unit remaining from last season, given Ivorian flyer Adama Traore spent plenty of time either injured or further up the park.

With intimidating centre-half Dino Djulbic and Englishman John Curtis having left the club at the end of last term, Croatian stopper Ante Rozic and youngster Dylan McGowan have slotted straight in and have done well to fill the gaps.

"It's very positive at the back. For a new defence, we're reading the game very well," Thwaite said.

"Obviously there are some (teething) problems and we just need to tinker a few things but it's looked very good."

Thwaite reserved some special words for his new partner at the back, Rozic, who he said has thrived under the hand of coach Bleiberg.

"He's very good," Thwaite said.

"He's had a lot of European experience, playing a lot of different formations but he responds very well to the freedom Miron gives to our players."

It will all be tested, though, come Friday night's match against the Brisbane juggernaut - but Thwaite said they feel ready for the challenge.

"We've worked very hard on our defensive structure this week and we know how much movement the Roar has," he said.

"They start very high and very wide when they have the ball and they're very compact when they don't. They can slip in passes between lines and we're looking at closing that down."