Sydney FC’s stuttering attack is set for an injection of top quality with skipper Alex Brosque and new recruit David Carney both set for starts in Saturday’s clash with Perth Glory.
Coach Graham Arnold confirmed on Thursday the pair would be unleashed from the start in a potentially season-defining clash at Allianz Stadium.
The Sky Blues have struggled for goals for much of the season, managing just 24 in their 18 games.
It’s not good enough for a title-chasing side, especially considering seven came in two games against last-placed Central Coast, while they have the worst record of any team in the top six.
Carney made his debut off the bench in last week’s 2-2 draw in Adelaide but with an important three points on the line against seventh-placed Glory, he’ll get the nod from the start on the left flank.
"The opposition look at [Carney] and fear him, because of his reputation and what he can do," Arnold told reporters on Thursday.
"Straight away you put their right full-back on the back foot, because he's worried about going forward because if they lose the ball Carney is there. And Carney can hurt them.
"We're in the position now where we've got that sort of player that can hurt them. David is probably someone that if you give him the ball he can change a game."
Brosque has played just once in the last two months due to a hamstring injury.
Prior to that the 32-year-old was in scintillating form as the Sky Blues’ lone striker, scoring five times and having two assists in 10 games.
“His preparation has been good, I think having him back training fully has given the team a lift,” Arnold said.
“Brosquey has played at no.9 in two games before he got injured. At Newcastle, he scored and we were outstanding that game.
"Then he played for 25 minutes against the Mariners and when he went off we were up 3-0.
“In the A-League salary cap system, if your marquees aren’t playing it can hurt you .... Brosquey is our marquee and he brings a lot of quality to the team.”
A win for Sydney would keep them within touching distance of the top of the ladder but a defeat would allow Glory to close within three points of the top six.
“For me, the first 18 games is about getting yourself in a position to be able to be successful and win something, we’ve done that,” Arnold said.
“With nine games to go it’s about no more excuses and every player stepping up to the plate, and performing to the best of our ability.
“I think it’s been over a year since we played them [Perth Glory] at home, and they won,” Arnold added.
“They’re a dangerous side, Kenny Lowe is a fantastic coach, you look at where they were last year until the salary cap problems, they were top spot.”