Brisbane Roar are set to add some fresh faces to Wednesday’s FFA Cup Quarter Final squad and Head Coach Warren Moon has encouraged the incoming youngsters to play with freedom.
The Roar boss confirmed that “five or six” players would be unavailable for the clash with Sydney FC, which will be Brisbane’s first match in over four weeks amid COVID-forced postponements.
An interrupted training and match schedule has naturally impacted fitness levels and that could result in minutes for some emerging BRFC Academy prospects.
“We’re obviously excited [to return to action],” Moon said on Tuesday.
“It’s been a pretty surreal, crazy time since our last match with everything that’s gone on. We’re excited but we’re fairly depleted.
“We’ve got boys coming out of isolation today, yesterday, a couple of days ago that aren’t available for selection because of the protocols. [Some have] had symptoms and side effects, so they’re not 100% feeling great in terms of their fitness. We can’t risk them for tomorrow night.
“There will be an opportunity for a couple of young boys in the squad to come down and get a game.”
With a home Semi Final against Central Coast Mariners up for grabs, Moon hopes his team can put the challenges to one side at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
“The boys can probably let the shackles off and play with a bit of freedom knowing it’s an opportunity to play in a Semi Final at home,” he said.
“We’re going through a rough patch right now but that doesn’t mean we don’t have intentions and ambitions to win this game and go on to win this tournament. We certainly do. And we’re not the only team going through it.
“We just have to prepare as best we can, go out there tomorrow night and do our very best to win the match.”
Sydney FC overcame Macarthur FC last month to secure their Quarter Final spot and beat the same opposition in their last Isuzu UTE A-League outing on Boxing Day.
While the Sky Blues’ starting XI may be hard to predict, the Roar coaching and conditioning staff have worked hard to prepare the playing group physically and tactically.
“One thing about Sydney is they are very consistent,” Moon said. “They stick to what they do well. We’ve got a gameplan in that regard.
“We can’t prepare for individuals because we don’t know who they’ve got available or unavailable.
“We’ve simplified it for ourselves. We’ve got as much hard work into the boys as we can. We’re focused on what we can do well defensively and with the ball.
“We’ll have to see how our fitness levels are and we’ll give it a crack.”
FFA Cup Quarter Final
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
KO: 5:00pm (QLD)