Brisbane ready for Fury

Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou has predicted a much more free-flowing encounter at Dairy Farmers Stadium tomorrow night after his team’s last meeting with North Queensland Fury attracted a defensive approach from their opponents.

Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou has predicted a much more free-flowing encounter at Dairy Farmers Stadium tomorrow night after his team-s last meeting with North Queensland Fury attracted a defensive approach from their opponents.

Both sides are coming off 1-0 wins over tenth-placed Sydney FC and Postecoglou is expecting the northerners to be boosted after their improved midweek performance against the Sky Blues saw them lifted off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

History is on the visitors- side, having never lost to North Queensland since their inception to the competition last year although the Roar have never won in Townsville.

However, the Brisbane coach said his side would be wary of the team looking to build momentum heading into the final stages of the season.

“They had a good win on Wednesday night so they-ll probably have a bit of confidence heading into the game,” Postecoglou said.

“They rose to the occasion against another team who-s aiming to make finals and I thought they performed really well.

“With that win, they-ve still got a sniff of making finals so we-re going to have to make sure we-re on the ball.”

The two teams met just four weeks ago at Suncorp Stadium with the home side having to rely on fullback Ivan Franjic-s late strike to salvage a point after North Queensland uncharacteristically played a more defensive style of football against the Roar.

While admitting the Fury-s form had been up and down in recent weeks, Postecoglou said he had prepared his squad for the worst case scenario – a rejuvenated Fury team buoyed by the enthusiasm of their coach Franz Straka.

“They gave us a tough time last time, it was funny because it was probably the only game of the year that they-ve changed the way they-ve played,” he said.

“They played quite defensively and a counter attacking kind of football against us and they haven-t done that with other teams.

“It will be interesting to see how they turn out tomorrow night.

“Their coach still certainly looks motivated and that-s passed along to the players.

“Even watching from the telly on Wednesday night, you could tell he really energised the whole game.

“He-s a testament to all the good stuff they-ve done this year and the players obviously respond to him.”

Brisbane will welcome Massimo Murdocca and Shane Stefanutto into the squad for tomorrow night-s clash and coach Postecoglou said the timing could not be better.

With nine games left before the Roar take on the challenge of finals football, their return from injury would mean the squad remained fresh as they aimed to hold on to the league-s top spot, according to Postecoglou.

“Those two boys are very, very experienced and they-re really itching to get back playing,” he said.

“We need that sort of energy.

“People are talking about us peaking too early or fading to the finish, guys like that coming back in, and Henrique soon too, ensures the energy amongst the group is as high as it-s ever been.

“In fact, I think training has probably gone up a notch at training this week because all these of them are energetic guys, the way they train and the way they put themselves about.

“It-s a massive boost to the whole group knowing in the last nine games plus finals that these guys are back.”

Stefanutto said he was raring to get back in the orange jersey, having played just one Hyundai A-League game in the past eight weeks as he struggled to recover from a groin strain.

“It-s been a frustrating time but it-s great to be back,” he said.

“The boys have been doing fantastic and you just want to be a part of it so it-s great that I can be this weekend.”

After five years plying his trade in Norway, the Cairns-born defender made the return to Australian football last year, signing with the Fury and said he needed no additional motivation to collect the three vital away points tomorrow night.

“For me, I don-t think about them as an ex-club and there-s no extra motivation, it-s more that it-s going to be a tough away trip,” the 30-year-old said.

“I-m sure they-re going to come at us and give us a tough game.”

North Queensland Fury vs. Brisbane Roar
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Local kick-off: 8:15pm (9.15pm AEDT)
Peter Green
Assistant referees: Nathan Macdonald and Daniel Jones
Fourth official: Graham Buzzi

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partners are Zinc 100.7 (Townsville). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 8. Adam CASEY, 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk)
*two to be omitted*

In: 8. Adam CASEY (promoted), 14. Chris GROSSMAN (promoted)

Out: 17. Osama MALIK (hamstring – awaiting scan results)

Unavailable: 4. Eric AKOTO (knee – 2 weeks), 13. Andre KILIAN (ankle – 2 weeks), 19. Isaka CERNAK (knee – 2 weeks), 20. Matthew HAM (knee – out for the season)

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 15. Matt McKAY (c) 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK
*four to be omitted*

In: 4. Shane STEFANUTTO (returns from injury), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (returns from injury), 12. Matt MUNDY (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 10. HENRIQUE (broken arm – 1-2 weeks)

Tickets for Brisbane Roar-s next home against Gold Coast United are available through Ticketek. Kick-off for the match is 6pm at Suncorp Stadium.

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