Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has confirmed that fresh faces will take to the pitch on Tuesday night against Kashima Antlers at Kashima Stadium (kick off 9pm AEDT).
Missing three players through injury and one through suspension for this clash, Arnold allayed any fears of any long term absences though and said he expects nothing less than three points on Tuesday in Japan.
“We brought a strong squad over that was available to travel and left at home players with injury concerns like Ninkovic, Bobô, Zullo, and Brandon O’Neill is suspended,” Arnold said.
“Other than that everyone else has travelled and we’re in great shape.
“I expect Ninkovic to play on Saturday. All the players that we’ve left in Sydney, apart from Zullo, I expect to play on Saturday. They were not in a position to travel directly after the game.
“Ninkovic missed the last couple of games and Bobô has been struggling with a back injury, two long flights for him isn’t a great idea.
“We’ve got a good strong squad with obviously some new faces in it tomorrow night and I’m excited to see how they go.
“When we reflect back on the game last week we had the bigger moments but two sloppy set pieces was the difference and I expect we will kick more into gear and I expect to win tomorrow night.”
The Sky Blues’ boss said the key to claiming the three points was the squad taking their opportunities, as he stated there was nothing to split the sides tactically in last Wednesday’s encounter at Sydney Football Stadium.
“It’s just a matter taking your opportunities when you get those big moments,” Arnold said.
“We haven’t done that the last three games but I expect that will happen tomorrow night. We are ready for tomorrow night and a great performance.
“We feel, every game we’ve been as good if not better than the opponent. Against Suwon, if we reflect back, the first 60 or 70 minutes we were even with them if not bigger than them and then they scored a goal against the run of play and a penalty.
“Against Shanghai we were the better side and deserved the three points and even against Antlers last week we were the better side for 70 minutes, we know we’re up to their level.
“We learnt that they’re strong at set pieces but other than that there was nothing to separate the two teams tactically. It was a great performance, we created more open opportunities in general play, but we need to take them when you get to this level.”
Sydney FC take on Kashima Antlers at Kashima Stadium on Tuesday 13 March (kick off 9pm AEDT). Follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates, catch the match live on Fox Sports 501 or get down to the club’s official Home Away from Home at The Star, Sydney and join like-minded Members and fans.
Sydney FC face Brisbane Roar at Allianz Stadium in a Family Fun Day out with an exclusive screening of 'Ferdinand' on the big screens ahead of our 7:50pm kick off! Be there to enjoy the film and back your Sky Blues in another crunch clash.