Thwaite to skipper Gold Coast

Gold Coast United is keeping its tactical cards close to its chest in the lead-up to Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Sydney FC.

Gold Coast United is keeping its tactical cards close to its chest in the lead-up to Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Sydney FC.

With Jason Culina on international duty it is known that Michael Thwaite will step into the captain's shoes, but just who will step into Culina's role in the midfield remains a secret.

Thwaite, 26, who was thrilled to be named United's stand-in leader, believes that the squad has more than enough cover for its chief playmaker.

"We have plenty of players who can fill in for Jason, there are also a few guys who haven't played in the last few games with a point to prove to the coach," Thwaite said.

"Robson is back on board, Tahj (Minniecon) is almost 100 percent fit and Zenon Caravella has been doing a great job."

Thwaite knows that Culina's are big shoes to fill as captain but he is keen to stay focused on the task at hand which for him involves stifling the attack of the league leaders.

"We will definitely keep playing our attacking style of football, though I will probably drop off a bit more than I have in the opening games as Sydney have their own attacking forces that are capable of damaging sides," he said.

"John Aloisi and (Steve) Corica are real danger men so my focus will be on stopping them."

While Saturday's clash will go down as Thwaite's first game as a captain in the Hyundai A-League, his appointment was a no-brainer for United coach Miron Bleiberg who handed the former Qantas Socceroo the reins through the pre-season.

"Obviously Michael Thwaite is a good leader, before Jason arrived we had three months of pre-season with Thwaite as captain and there was good harmony throughout the team," Bleiberg said.

"Plus we have plenty of senior players in Bas (Van Den Brink), Kristian Rees, (Shane) Smeltz and Joel Porter, so we have no problem with leadership and experience."

While it is obvious that Robson, Caravella and Minniecon will play a more prominent role in the absence of their skipper, Bleiberg was keen to keep his formation under wraps.

"Normally I am happy to reveal who will replace who, but in this case I will keep it to myself," he said.

"Jason's are not easy shoes to fill, it's not just a case of changing player for player but much more, we have to change our tactics, our approach and all the rest."

"We have tried a few variations and come up with some good solutions and we are quite confident."