Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has confirmed defender Rhyan Grant has returned from injury and is in the squad to face Melbourne on Friday night at Allianz Stadium (7:50pm AEST).
While no certainty to feature, Arnold confirmed Grant was back in his plans going forward, with Tuesday’s AFC Champions League clash and Finals Series matches fast approaching.
The Sky Blues’ boss praised the squad’s fitness levels, competing in two competitions, and said he expects nothing less than three points on Friday night in the final clash of the regular season.
“Rhyan is back in the squad tomorrow night,” Arnold stated.
“I’ve got to cut the squad back from 20 to 16 but he’s part of that, training fully with us, he’s ready to go. Ready to go, maybe not start but he’s ready to go.
“I’ve got 22 players that are fit and ready to go,” he continued.
“We’ve had a lot of games of late and that’s been a bonus for us overall, it’s taken our fitness to the greatest level it’s been at since I’ve been at the club. The players are all sharing the minutes and getting a lot of minutes and every player is fit.
“Tomorrow night we’re against Melbourne, at Allianz our Fortress and there’s no travel involved, it’s a four day turnaround which is good.
“The fact that we’re playing on the Friday night and then the Tuesday night it gives us plenty of time to recover so we’ll be putting our strongest team out and we expect to win tomorrow.
“I’ve got 22 very hungry players ready to play tomorrow night and I’ll select the team then. We expect to win in fashion.”
Arnold said he relishes encounters against Melbourne, saying the squad is full of belief heading into the match, as he confirmed that Premiers Plate celebrations would be muted with Tuesday’s vital fixture against Shanghai Shenhua on the horizon.
“We enjoy them [games against Melbourne] enormously,” Arnold said.
“We’ve got such a powerful belief in this squad and sometimes when you read their [Melbourne’s] interviews they give you more belief. After the last game some of their [Melbourne’s] senior players commented to our boys that we were too good for them so that gives you even more belief.
“We’ve got plenty of time to celebrate later,” Arnold continued.
“Tomorrow night after the game the players will celebrate with a pizza and a glass of water and get ready for Tuesday night’s game.
“There is no celebration, we know what we’ve got in front of us and there’s plenty of time to celebrate after.”
Sydney FC contest the beyondblue Cup at Allianz Stadium on Friday night ahead of lifting the Hyundai A-League Premiers Plate (kick off 7:50pm AEST). Be there to witness history and back your Sky Blues, gates open 6:50pm AEST.
We're the Hyundai A-League Premiers but we're #NotDoneYet...Be at Allianz Stadium for our remaining home clash and see us lift the Premiers Plate aloft! Secure your seats now, say you were there and be a part of history!