Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold believes he has the squad ready to win the battle that is the Australia Day #BigBlue at Etihad Stadium this Thursday.
Arnold said his squad’s morale would go a long way to deciding the contest, with confidence high in the playing group following their 16 match unbeaten start to the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.
“We know that Melbourne are going to come out fighting, we’re ready for that fight, we’ve got the players that are prepared for the fight,” Arnold said.
“You’ve got to win the battle, you’ve got to win the fight for the second ball, you’ve got to be prepared for the physical battle. It’s about being ready for the fight, the battle and winning that game.
“The dressing room has got great team spirit, great friends,” he continued.
“In their days off there’s 8 or 9 that meet up and hang around together away from the training pitch. That brings a lot of team morale, not only are they working for each other on the field their mates off the field and have each other’s back.
“I thought last week against Adelaide we were excellent, especially with the ball, we created a lot of chances with our own play so we go down to Melbourne with a lot of confidence.
“It should be a great occasion, Australia Day, and we’re looking forward to it.”
With Rhyan Grant suspended, Arnold said he had no reservations about who to field at right back as he confirmed new signing Jordy Buijs would feature in the match in some part.
“Rhyan is suspended but it’s one game at a time for me,” he said.
“We’ve got great options, Calver has played at right back for us on occasion, Jordy Buijs’ clearance has come through, Josh Brillante played for 6-8 months in Serie B in Italy at right back so we’ve got plenty of options.
“The Dutchman will be in the squad. Whether he starts or comes off the bench is another thing.
“My individual record in Melbourne is quite good,” Arnold continued.
“Every game is a different challenge. We like Etihad, Sydney FC has performed well there before, when I was at the Mariners we performed well there before.
“We’ve analysed Melbourne, we know their strengths and weaknesses and it’s about trying to exploit them.”
Sydney FC are next in Hyundai A-League action on Australia Day, away against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium (kick off 7:50pm). Catch the match live on Fox Sports or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for live updates.
Sydney FC Memberships are now on sale for the Hyundai A-League season 2016/17. Click here to become part of the Sky Blue Family.