Sydney FC fan favourite Jacob Tratt is poised to resume an old defensive partnership from his Foxtel Y-League days, now on the continental stage in the AFC Champions League.
Thrust into a starting role with Alex Wilkinson rested, Tratt is set to lineup alongside Aaron Calver against Ulsan Hyundai FC in the Korea Republic on Tuesday night, a pairing harking back to their youth team days together where once again they were managed by Head Coach Steve Corica.
“I think the last time I played alongside Calvs [Aaron Calver] in defence was against the Central Coast Mariners youth team,” Tratt said.
“We were able to get a win that day so hopefully there’s more success like that in the next game we play together.
“I can’t wait [for my AFC Champions League debut], you put in the hard work day in day out so to be able to get the opportunity to play in the AFC Champions League, I’m very grateful and I’ll take my chance with both hands.
“I had my first stint with Sydney FC and didn’t get the chance to play, but I’ve definitely developed as a player since then and I’m ready for my opportunity. I’m looking forward to it.”
Reflecting on his road to a Champions League debut, Tratt said he’s developed well as he said he’s confident of delivering a vital three points for the Sky Blues against K-League powerhouse Ulsan Hyundai FC.
“I’ve developed a lot. When you’re training with some world class players from Australia and around the world you’re always going to be developing,” he said.
“The focus of every game is to win. Steve [Corica] spoke to us earlier in the week and said don’t worry about what’s down in the future and the Semi-Finals, just keep your focus towards this game and doing your best to prepare and win this match.
“100% focus is on this game and the new move on to the next one after.
“It will be a tough game because they’re top of the group but we’ve definitely got the ability to beat them,” he continued.
“I believe we’ll go close for sure. It’s about being controlled in possession and making the most of our opportunities that we create.”
Head Coach Steve Corica praised Tratt’s application since joining the Sky Blues and said he had every confidence in a central defensive pairing he knows well.
“He’s done well Tratty, he’s played a couple of different positions,” Corica said.
“He played in the Wanderers game as centre back, against Newcastle at the weekend at centre back and I thought he did well so this is a great opportunity and great stage for him to show what he’s about.
“[It’s] a young centre back pairing with Aaron Calver but I’ve known them for a while, back to when I coached the youth team, they were both in my youth team and did well in that position there and now they’re playing first team football together again.”
Sydney FC take on Ulsan Hyundai FC away in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday night in a huge Group H clash. #WatchWithUs LIVE on Fox Sports 505 from 8pm AEST.