Despite scoring the winner in the Derby last match, Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold says Shane Smeltz is no certainty to start on Tuesday against Melbourne Victory as he hinted at changes to the squad for the Australia Day clash.
Arnold welcomes back Olyroos trio Brandon O’Neill, Andrew Hoole and Alex Gersbach, however he said a decision still had to be made on their inclusions as he lamented their late arrival back from camp.
“Not necessarily [will Smeltz start],” Arnold said.
“Matty Simon did a great job last week, but that’s the benefit of building a strong squad at the start of the year and I’ve got young George Blackwood who’s done exceptionally well too.
“Shane Smeltz has a great record, he scored four goals against them last year and they were coming off the bench so he’s got a great knack of when he comes off the bench being in the right place at the right time to score goals against tired defences.
“Everyone except Brosque is available although I have to make a decision on Alex Gersbach, he only arrived at 6:30 this [Monday] morning after getting back late from the Olyroos,” he continued.
“I’m not the only one in the position of getting them back late, Kevin Muscat sits there today with Thomas Deng coming back tonight.
“They hadn’t trained for three or four days after getting knocked out and Alex Gersbach hasn’t trained for five days.
“I’ll wait and see until tomorrow to make up my mind on who starts.”
Arnold said his side travel to Melbourne confident as he called for consistency with 11 games remaining in the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 regular season.
“It’s about trying to get momentum, trying to get on a good roll, there’s a lot of tough games still to go,” Arnold said.
“Tomorrow for us is round 16, another 11 games to go, 33 points available and it’s about trying to be consistent towards the back end of the season.
“I think every game is different, we go down to Eithad, but most of the time we’ve played them [Melbourne Victory] at AAMI,” he continued.
“Etihad is a bigger stadium, less intimidating and obviously Melbourne Victory are a very good side but we’re confident in our own ability.”
Sydney FC take on Melbourne Victory in an Australia Day clash tomorrow. Catch the game live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.