Coach takes aim at ‘big concern’
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has conceded he has started to plan for the likely absence of several key players come the A-League finals, due to Socceroos duty.
With the national team set to complete their first phase of qualifiers in a Kuwaiti hub at the same time that the A-League finals take place, Corica’s back-to-back title winning squad are set to be one of the hardest hit.
12-time Socceroo right back Rhyan Grant is a certainty to go while the likes of Luke Brattan, who is in stunning form in central midfield, goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and centre back Ryan McGowan are likely to be in Graham Arnold’s thoughts.
“It’s a big concern really. It depends how many go but we’re going to have our best players out of the finals so that’s not great of course. That’s why we have to make sure everyone’s ready and get minutes into their legs,” Corica said.
With that in mind, the Sydney FC boss gave Ben Warland a chance in central defence in the 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night to get him up to speed, should McGowan be called upon.
21-year-old fullback Harry Van Der Saag came on for the final 10 minutes to provide an option for Grant’s inevitable departure, while Corica conceded Adrian Caceres is being exposed more in midfield should Brattan depart.
Meanwhile, promising goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle may need some game time should Redmayne be on the plane bound for Kuwait.
“I’m starting to think about who’s going and who’s a possibility to go. Hopefully they name the squad soon so I know for sure,” he said.
“He (Graham Arnold) knows who he wants but there’s a lot of overseas boys and he needs to check if they’re available to travel. He’s said a few names but until the final squad is done then we’ll wait and see.”
A finals berth is looking very likely for the Sky Blues. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Redmayne’s patchy early season form may count against him when it comes to the final squad but over the last few months, he’s been back to his best which included two brave late saves to preserve a clean sheet against the Victory.
That’s taken his total for the club up to 38, breaking the record set by Clint Bolton in a Sky Blue shirt.
“He was excellent. He had a couple of moments earlier in the season that everyone picked up on but he’s back to his best now and performing really well,” Corica said.
“We chatted a fair bit, but even when he was going through that bad period and made a couple of mistakes, he never shouldered any responsibility. He came for crosses and after he made a mistake, he just got on with the game which was excellent.”
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