Austrian skipper Janko could make Australian debut in Ballarat

SYDNEY FC coach Graham Arnold says he will bring an almost full-strength side to Ballarat next week, including Austrian national captain Marc Janko.

Just seven days out from clashing with Melbourne City in the Football Federation Australia Cup at Morshead Park, there is every chance the Sky Blues’ marquee player will make his debut on Australian soil.

Sydney has a friendly this Wednesday and although it is yet to be decided if Janko will play in that match or not, he is shaping as a near certainty to make an appearance in Ballarat.

If he does play, he will join a swag of star players running out in Ballarat, likely to include Australian representatives Alex Brosque and Saša Ognenovski, along with star New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz.

There are, however, question marks over whether Ali Abbas or Bernie Ibini will pull on a Sky Blues guernsey, as they are in the A-League All-Stars squad to play against Italian giant Juventus at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Arnold said the round-of-32 match was highly important for his side, with the final makeup of the squad to be made later this week.

“We will definitely be looking to take as full-strength of a squad as we can,” Arnold told The Courier.

“We will be taking it extremely seriously – it’s a really important match for us.”

If Janko was to make his debut, he would join former English Premier League star Damien Duff on the pitch, who will make his Australian debut for Melbourne City.

Janko only flew into the country last week as a new signing, having previously been playing in Turkey.

“Marc Janko is every chance of making his debut for us in this game – that is if he hasn’t made his debut on Wednesday,” Arnold said.

Sydney is expected to arrive in either Melbourne or Ballarat on Monday night, with the match to kick off at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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