Thwaite: Bring on the Roar
Defender Michael Thwaite says Gold Coast United has nothing to prove ahead of Sunday’s M1 Derby with Brisbane and has called upon Ange Postecoglou’s new look Brisbane Roar outfit to come and get them when they travel down to Skilled Park.
Defender Michael Thwaite says Gold Coast United has nothing to prove ahead of Sunday-s M1 Derby with Brisbane and has called upon Ange Postecoglou-s new look Brisbane Roar outfit to come and get them when they travel down to Skilled Park.
Handing out Brisbane no less than three footballing lessons last season - including a humiliating 5-1 defeat on Boxing Day - Gold Coast proved they were Queensland-s number one team during their first season in the A-League.
There-s been no secret made of the sweeping changes undertaken by the Roar with up to 12 new signings set to feature this season, however Thwaite refused to be fazed, preferring to let the outcome of Round 1 determine whether he-s convinced Brisbane has turned the corner.
"In the end all the pre-season talk, it doesn-t matter. It-s 11 v 11 on the day and any team can win," a determined Thwaite said.
"We-re playing at home so I think if anyone is going to be confident it-s going to be us."
"I think in general the teams that are going to be successful, especially with a new team, are the ones which have already set their foundations such as Melbourne Heart and us."
"Obviously we haven-t had many changes and that-s a good sign."
"Brisbane have had a hell of a lot of changes and whether that works or not they-re going to have to prove that to us on the weekend and come at us."
Excited by the prospect of the new season, United-s colourful head coach Miron Bleiberg said he knew what to expect from the Roar after watching their recent friendly with Premier League side Everton, although how quickly Brisbane-s squad could gel remained a talking point for the tactician.
"I went to watch them against Everton and I saw the good things and the bad things," Bleiberg said after training on Thursday.
"I don-t want to say too much, the less they know what I think the better. Overall they can produce some good fluent passing so if you let them play they can play."
"It takes time to work each other out and I-ll be the first to admit it, but from the other side there is an element of surprise. I don-t exactly know what they will produce... they might play like Barcelona."
"In general though it will not work in their favour because they have to work each other out like what happened to us last year."
Settling on his formation three weeks ago Bleiberg-s plans have looked firmly on track for Round 1, however a recent calf injury to one of Gold Coast-s two new signings, former Manchester United defender John Curtis, has forced an adjustment at right back with delivery specialist Steve Fitzsimmons expected to fill the void at right back.
"At the moment John Curtis will be unavailable for the first game," he confirmed.
"His calf is a bit tight, he could have played but I would have risked him playing half a game and then it would be another six or seven weeks out."
"It-s the first round not the Grand Final, so I prefer him to wait another week and play 29 games than to risk him for the first game."
"I already made up my mind up about the starting formation three weeks ago...you know what you are going to do and you work towards it."