Wilko's warning to Sydney FC's Hyundai A-League rivals

Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson says tonight [Sat] Big Blue against Melbourne Victory will show why the Sky Blues are convinced they are even stronger than last season.

Graham Arnold’s side won the Championship-Premiership double in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season but have openly talked about going to a greater level this campaign.

And Wilkinson says they plan to demonstrate why they are so confident in the grand final replay at Etihad Stadium.

“The new guys have settled in really well,” the veteran defender said.

“The coaching staff did a good job getting them in early in the pre-season so they’ve had time to settle and get to know the boys and the way we like to play tactically and positionally.

“They’ve settled in really well and if anything I think our squad is better than last year, that’s a great sign, and you guys will get to see that [on Saturday night].

“I think we’re a stronger unit as a squad. You’ve got a squad limit of 23 players and throughout the season we’re going to need the full squad and that becomes very important to have a well-balanced team and a team with a lot of depth and I think that’s where we’ve strengthened.

“Any one of the 23 players can play week-in, week-out and we’ll be very confident of winning every game we play.”

Wilko Story 1

Only once [Brisbane Roar in 2011/12] has a team managed to win back-to-back title in the Hyundai A-League.

But Wilkinson feels this Sky Blues squad has the ability and character to buck the trend and defend their title - both Premiers' Plate and Grand Final.

“Being the defending champions, of course every team is going to want to come out and beat you but that’s the challenge that we’re definitely all up for and looking forward to,” Wilkinson said.

“No team has ever gone back-to-back premiers and champions but we’ve spoken about that since day one of pre-season and that’s one of our goals for sure.

“I don’t know [why teams struggle to back up after winning the title],” he continued.

“All I can say is it won’t happen to us, we’ve got a very driven and mentally strong squad and one that is very focussed on backing up last year and improving and doing even better.

“We’re looking forward to it all starting this week and we’ll go from there.”