Henrique return boosts Roar

In a massive boost for Sunday’s top of the table clash with Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar will welcome speedy winger Henrique back into the squad for the first time since he broke his arm in week five of the Hyundai A-League season.

In a massive boost for Sunday-s top of the table clash with Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar will welcome speedy winger Henrique back into the squad for the first time since he broke his arm in week five of the Hyundai A-League season.

Looking to start the New Year with a bang, Brisbane will be out to ensure their impressive record against the Reds this season stays intact, with the two meetings at Suncorp Stadium ending in a solid 4-0 win in early November and a hard fought 1-1 draw seven weeks prior.

Head Coach Ange Postecoglou was happy to see Henrique ready for match action, with the 25-year-old Brazilian knocking the door down for selection by putting in the hard yards on the Ballymore training field in recent weeks.

“He-s got an energy and an enthusiasm about him that I think is infectious,” he said.

“Technically he-s a very good player and he-s a threat to any opposition when he-s got the ball and he fits into our system really well.”

The news is more pleasing given that wide players Thomas Broich and Ivan Franjic are likely to miss the clash at Hindmarsh Stadium, both succumbing to niggling injuries during the week.

With Henrique back in the fray and Matt Mundy overcoming a knee injury, Postecoglou had no qualms regarding his side-s ability to compensate for not only the possible loss of Broich and Franjic, but also of captain Matt McKay who will be in Dubai on Qantas Socceroos duty in preparation for next week-s AFC Asian Cup.

“At the end of the day, opportunities arise for different people and we-ve been able to cover our absences in the past and we-ll have to do it again,” he said.

Shane Stefanutto, who will don the captain-s armband in the absence of influential leader McKay, warned his side to be wary of Adelaide United after they snapped their three game losing streak with a comprehensive win over Sydney FC on Wednesday night.

“I-m sure confidence-wise it was good for them to get that win,” Stefanutto said.

“They-re a hard side to gauge and when they do turn it on, they-re an entertaining football side and a very dangerous football side.

“We-ve had a couple of good results against them this year so there is a bit of confidence amongst the camp and hopefully we can take that form down to Adelaide.

“I think it will be great, they-ve got a good fan base and a good stadium so it will be a great challenge for us.”

The fixture will mark Adelaide-s fifth match in 16 days and Stefanutto was confident that Brisbane-s fitness and perseverance would be their greatest asset in their attempts to overcome the Rini Coolen-coached team, who sit in second place on the ladder despite their recent patchy form.

“Everyone knows we-re a fit side, we-re young and mobile,” he said.

“They-ve had a pretty long run at the moment but I feel that we-re going to go there with our game plan.

“We-re going to be really offensive and move that ball around and hope that sometime during the game they do get fatigued and maybe we can take advantage of that.”

In what seems like a season full of record-breaking feats for the Roar, Brisbane will equal another Hyundai A-League record if they avoid a loss at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.

Having lost none of their previous nine away matches, Ange Postecoglou-s men will be aiming to equal the league-s record for the longest undefeated streak away from home of 10 matches which is currently held by Sydney FC.

Adelaide United vs. Brisbane Roar
Sunday, 2 January 2010
Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Local kick-off: 6:30pm
Matthew Breeze
Assistant referees: Paul Cetrangolo and Daniel Goodwin
Fourth official: Christian Verdicio

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partners are ABC Digital (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.

Adelaide United: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Cameron WATSON, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 26.Joe KEENAN
*one to be omitted*

In: Travis DODD (returns from injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee – season), Mathew LECKIE (knee – 4 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee – 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, 10. HENRIQUE, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK

In: HENRIQUE (returns from broken arm), Matt MUNDY (returns from injury)

Out: Matt McKAY (international duty – 4 weeks)

Unavailable: Nil

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 18): Adelaide United wins 8, Brisbane Roar wins 4 (6 draws)

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