Sydney FC’s travelling contingent at Jinan Olympic Sports Centre has received a boost, with a familiar face set to be amongst the crowd for Wednesday night’s AFC Champions League tie in China.
Sky Blues’ Captain Alex Brosque has committed to make the journey and linked up with his teammates on Tuesday evening in a bid to boost the squad’s morale ahead of one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
“Basically the importance of the game [is why I’m travelling over],” Brosque said.
“It’s the first time we’ve gotten out of the group and I just want to be there. I’ve been restricted to watching the back half of the season so this is another game that’s right up there in terms of importance for the club.
“We’re in a very good position facing a team that’s very vulnerable as well.
“I’m not expecting the boys to change or anything but hopefully me being there even can give the boys a few laughs and get their heads right for the big game coming up.”
While Brosque believes Shandong will prove a tough prospect at home, the Sky Blues skipper is confident that Sydney FC can continue their rich vein of form in the competition and return to training in July with an AFC Champions League quarter final to look forward to.
“It’ll be tough, Shandong is not travelling very well in their league competition so they’re similar to us where the Champions League was a bit of a lifeline,” Brosque said.
“They will be tough to beat, for me this is their shot, they have to win at home otherwise they know it’ll be difficult to come to Sydney and get a result.
“I think it’s going to be a tight game but I think we’ve been playing very very well in the Champions League.
“The boys are very fired up, there’s only two games left before everyone goes on their break so we want to make sure we go into the break with a quarter final to look forward to.”
Ruled out for the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury, Brosque said the recovery was coming along as planned as he set his sights on a return to training with the team in July.
“It’s coming along well, it’s all going according to plan,” Brosque said.
“I’ve been running a bit just clocking up the kilometres in the legs, getting some strength through it and it’s feeling quite good.
“The neural pain is starting to go away week to week as well so I’m definitely on track and I’m looking forward to getting the major rehab out of the way and starting pre-season again when the boys come back in July.”
Sydney FC take on Shandong Luneng in the club’s first ever AFC Champions League round of 16 tie at Jinan Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday night (kick off 9:30pm AEST). Catch the match live on Fox Sports 2 or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
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