Corica's Call To Young Strikers

Sydney FC Head Coach Steve Corica has called on his youngsters to show what they’ve got as competition for the vacant striker role ramps up.

While the search is still underway for a player to fill the void left by Adam Le Fondre, the Sky Blues’ young stock are all staking a claim for the role with Trent Buhagiar, Luke Ivanovic, Jordi Swibel and Patrick Wood all vying to partner Kosta Barbarouses and lead the line.

Buhagiar scored twice against Macarthur Bulls at the weekend, and Corica said he was impressed by the attitude on display from the younger members of his squad.

“We don’t have another striker at the moment as Adam has left,” Corica said.

“We have Kosta [Barbarouses], Trent Buhagiar, Luke Ivanovic and a couple of the younger boys Jordi Swibel and Patrick Wood. It’s up to these boys to show what they can do.

“It’s all about depth in this squad, we want to improve on last year, we want to be better and these young boys are working hard to do that.

“Everyone is doing well from the experienced boys leading by example as always, but the young ones are pushing these boys now,” he continued.

“Trent Buhagiar has been starting and scoring the goals, he scored two against Macarthur, so that’s great for him. They’re all working extremely hard and pushing those older boys.

“Physically we’re looking good, a lot of the boys have 90 minutes under their belt and we’ll get another 90 minutes this weekend.

“It’s mainly about the physical side at the moment, with the technical and tactical side we’ve had the same squad for a while so they know what we’re after, there’s just little bits that we’ll touch on and improve.”

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Trent Buhagiar has been in fine form this preseason.

With one eye on the resumption of the Sky Blues’ AFC Champions League campaign in Qatar this month, Corica said the hub environment on offer in Doha hold the Sky Blues in good stead for the remainder of the group stage and beyond.

“We know we’ve got the toughest group,” he said.

“We know the quality players they have, but this is the good thing about it. You play against the best players and that gives the boys an opportunity to show us what they can do.

“They never let us down, they’ve always been very close. We’ve had a couple of draws last season against these teams but we want to go further, put wins on the board and maybe go through.

“I think being in the hub should help us. Being in the one spot and being able to have the boys together and not having that travel period I think that will help definitely.

“This is preseason for us but we’re getting the boys extremely fit so they can perform well in this ACL. We worked hard all season to get in the ACL and now is the time to start performing.

“These are games that other teams can’t get that aren’t in the ACL,” he continued.  

“They’re the best teams in Asia so it’s vital that we use this as good preparation leading into the A-League and I think it’ll hold us in good stead.”

Sydney FC’s AFC Champions League campaign resumes against Shanghai SIPG on Thursday 19 November (kick off 9pm AEDT).