Brosque to face late fitness test

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9 Oct 2019

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Sydney FC star Alex Brosque will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for Friday night’s clash with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh, after badly rolling his ankle in last week’s win over Central Coast.

Brosque suffered the injury in the final few minutes of the 2-0 victory and grimaced in pain as he headed for the bench. The expectation was the left-sided forward would miss one or even two weeks.

However, he was quickly cleared of any serious damage and after some light work on the training ground this week, coach Graham Arnold said he was not ruling Brosque out just yet.

“He’ll travel down with us and have a late fitness test,” Arnold said at training on Thursday. “His ankle is not as bad as first thought and then we’ll take it from there. I’d say he’s 50-50 at this stage. He’s done some work in the pool. He’s moving around. He’s much better than what he was. Everyone else is good.”

Unbeaten after four rounds and equal top of the table, the Sky Blues are positive about their prospects of going to Hindmarsh and taking on one of the league’s other in-form teams.

“The mood is good and everyone is always happy when you’re winning, but it’s only round four,” Arnold said. “We’ve had a good start to the season but Adelaide away is a tough test. Everybody is talking about them being one of the favourites this year. We have the experience of playing against them a couple of weeks ago in the FFA Cup, so hopefully we learn from lessons from that game and we look forward to tomorrow night.”

The experience of stifling Brisbane Roar – another possession-oriented team – at Suncorp Stadium a fortnight ago holds Sydney in good stead to repeat the dose against the Reds.

“We need to make sure we play to the game plan and make sure we make it difficult for Adelaide,” Arnold said. “There’s going to be big crowd and it’s a wonderful stadium to play at.

“We’ve shown this year we’ve got two or three ways of playing. You saw against Brisbane we pressed the hell out of them up there and we forced their turnovers up high in the first half against the Mariners. But we’re also capable of dropping off, defending in our own half and hitting teams on the counter.

“Whichever way will come up tomorrow, we always come up with plan A, B, and C. Whichever plan we need to win the game, we’ll use.”

Asked if there was any “revenge factor” after being knocked out of the FFA Cup by Adelaide a few weeks ago, Arnold said: “No, not at all. You can’t get revenge on referees, can you?”

The coach said he had done something that night he “would never have done” in the league – switching to a back three late as they chased the win, despite being down to 10 men after Nikola Petkovic’s dismissal.

“When he got sent off I went man-on-man at the back because it’s all about trying to get a result in a Cup competition,” he said. “In a normal league game, I’d have brought on another central defender and kept a back four. They ended up getting us in extra time, but that’s Cup football. They capitalised on that night, but it’s up to us to change that on Friday.”

Meanwhile, the Sky Blues have also been celebrating a huge week for Terry Antonis. After being called up to the national team on Wednesday for this month’s friendly with Japan, he was named as October’s young footballer of the month on Thursday.

Arnold hailed the youngster as “outstanding”.

“I think Terry’s got all the qualities to be an international footballer,” Arnold said. “Technically he’s outstanding, physically he’s getting better, tactically he’s still got things to learn. “But the best thing about Terry is he’s very open-minded and willing to learn. He’s always asking for more information and looking for players to model himself on.”

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