SYDNEY FC coach Graham Arnold has confirmed star strikers Marc Janko, Alex Brosque and Shane Smeltz will miss the club’s FFA Cup clash against Melbourne City on Tuesday.
A tale of two injury lists headlines the Ballarat-hosted encounter, with City manager John van’t Schip expecting a near-full squad to choose from when the re-branded club makes the trip to Morshead Park for its first official points match.
Janko, Brosque and Smeltz are the biggest names in what Arnold described as an injury list “quite high” with casualties.
“Because of the timing, I won’t be taking any risks at all with players,” Arnold said in a press conference on Monday.
“We’ve got a number of players who are out for the game.
“(But) it’s like all the pre-season games, really it’s got nothing to do with the opposition – it’s all to do with us.
“(It) gives me a good opportunity to look at the depth of the squad.
Arnold also said A-League All Stars striker Bernie Ibini would be tested after playing 70 minutes on Sunday night.
In contrast, van’t Schip has declared all his players available, with the exception of newly signed marquee Robert Koren, who hails from Slovenia.
The Dutchman could even throw in striker David Williams just 48 hours after figuring for the All Stars.
Williams made a quick dash from Sydney to join his teammates in training on a frosty Melbourne morning on Monday.
Aaron Mooy is expected to play in midfield, while Irish winger Damien Duff could be handed his first start.
“Damien has progressed really well... he’s caught up with the team really quick and (is) definitely one of the players available,” van`t Schip said.
City will wear white and sky blue and the expectations that come with being league favourites.
However, van’t Schip said there would be limited fanfare to announce City’s arrival, although the on-pitch stakes have been raised.
“We know it’s going to be the first game but I don’t think we as a group are thinking about that,” he said.
“We’re very focussed on what we’re doing and on the game.
“Everybody now is getting used to the new name and what comes with it – the expectations of course are higher.
“We have to deliver and that’s something we talk about – the boys know.”
- with AAP