Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi believes his squad are ahead of where they were at this point during last pre-season.
The Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season opener against Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium is just 18 days away and Aloisi is pleased with his squad’s progression.
“It’s been a good pre-season. We feel like we’re ahead on where we were this time in last pre-season,” Aloisi said
“I feel we’re a lot more fluent on the ball and as a team we have improved as a defensive unit.
“It’s nice when you see the progression of the group. Improving on our structures was the main thing we were looking to get out of this pre-season.”
Following the cancellation of last weekend’s match against Central Coast Mariners due to torrential rain, the Roar will play Perth Glory behind closed doors at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney tomorrow afternoon before taking on a PS4 NPL QLD Under 23 Select side on Saturday.
The two sides have previously met this pre-season in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 and tomorrow’s match against the Glory will provide Aloisi’s squad with another opportunity to test themselves against Hyundai A-League opposition.
“We’ve got a good test tomorrow against Perth Glory and then we have one more pre-season match against NPL Select in Brisbane on Saturday.”
“We felt that we needed another game against A-League opposition. It’s good that we’ll get the chance tomorrow against Perth in Sydney.”
The squad will return home later this week ahead of their final pre-season match against a PS4 NPL QLD Select squad at QSAC on Saturday, 23 September (3pm KO). Entry is free.
Recent recruit Brett Holman is expected to play against NPL Select on Saturday. While Danish international Thomas Kristensen will play a part in the Roar’s midfield in Sydney tomorrow.
“Brett [Holman] is looking good as is Thomas Kristensen.” Aloisi said.
“Thomas will play against Perth and get some minutes into the legs and add a bit of size in midfield.”
Defending set pieces has been another key element Brisbane's senior squad have focused on throughout pre-season and Aloisi believes his side are prepared to face a Glory team who rely heavily on set pieces in attack.
“Last year we conceded a few goals from set pieces against Perth but we almost managed to score against them from set pieces,” Aloisi said.
“We’ve worked a lot in this pre-season on defensive set pieces and we believe we've improved this area of our game and can cope with a tall side like Perth."
While the Roar will concede a height advantage to the Glory, the Roar will look to use their added mobility and incredible ground speed to their advantage.
“When you have a smaller side, you do have mobility and that’s one of our strengths – we’re a pretty quick side,” Aloisi said.
“It’s not easy to play against some of our players who don’t stop running and keep the opposition moving."
With almost an entirely fit squad looking to secure their spot in the October 7 season opener, Aloisi is enjoying the competition for positions within the squad, which he believes can only benefit the playing group.
“What I want is competition for places so it’s good to have players like Tommy Oar (above) and Thomas Broich pushing each other. It’s the same in other positions and we need that competition,” he said.
All over the pitch, that’s what I want. If you have that then the training sessions are completed at a higher intensity because the players know that they need to play well and train well to start."