Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has praised the Sky Blues depth as he prepares to travel to Melbourne City with five players absent through injury and suspension.
Missing Seb Ryall, Jacques Faty, Rhyan Grant, David Carney and Alex Brosque, Arnold said those who featured against Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League midweek were more than capable of backing up for Saturday’s Hyundai A-League clash.
“We’ve had some injuries to crucial players, but at the end of the day we’ve still got a deep squad,” Arnold said.
“For Melbourne tomorrow we’ve got four players suspended and that’s going to test the depth of the squad again, but as the game against Guangzhou showed, we’ve got depth, we beat the best team that Guangzhou put out and we had our two marquees out and that shows the depth that we do have.
“It’s a bit of luxury for me to bring in someone like Zac Anderson who’s played 100 games in the A-League, who’s won a Championship, who knows what the A-League is about,” he continued.
“Ali Abbas is coming back from injury but he’s getting his game time as he did in Tokyo last week and Aaron Calver showed against Guangzhou that he’s up to that level and he did exceptionally well,.
“I don’t call them fringe players or squad players, they’re players that are part of Sydney FC, part of the first team and I expect a good performance.”
After picking up a knock that forced him off inside 20 minutes last weekend, Arnold confirmed Matt Simon would feature at AAMI Park as he said the squad would be drawing on Wednesday’s ACL performance as motivation, with only six matches remaining in the league.
“He [Matt Simon] will play, he’s recovered well from the knock last week and he’ll be fine,” Arnold said.
“Alex Brosque, this weekend, will see a specialist, he won’t travel, he won’t play, we’ll know more about him on Monday.
“The feeling is much better in the camp [after Wednesday],” he continued.
“Against Guangzhou the other night the boys performed exceptionally well and we’ve got to build momentum off the back of that. I know what the players can do I see it every day at training.
“A win would do great for the top seven teams, there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns before the end of the season.
“I’ve looked at the draw of all the other teams and we’ve probably got one of the better run ins. We’ve got this trip [to City] and then we’ve only got one more trip out of New South Wales after that. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves and make sure our performance is what it should be.”
Sydney FC travel to face Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday night (kick off 7:30pm). Catch the game live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.