Fresh from a football-free weekend, Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos says the upcoming run of mid-week games will separate “the boys from the men” in the Hyundai A-League.
With the introduction of Melbourne Heart into the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, the competition has been extended to 30 fixtures this year, including a large number of Wednesday night clashes.
Brisbane this week embarks on a stretch of six games in 21 days, including a road double where the team will travel to Sydney, then directly on to Wellington at the end of the month.
Theoklitos believes Roar coach Ange Postecoglou and his coaching staff have put together a squad well-equipped to take on these exact challenges, saying the quality players in the team will make the difference when faced with back-to-back games.
“I think everyone-s squads will be tested,” he said.
“Everyone has got their ideal starting eleven, but when you-re playing so many games you-re going to need your whole squad.
“Obviously three games in a week is a lot of games but in saying that we-ve got a squad of healthy players who are all ready to play.
“We-re in a fortunate position here at Brisbane because we-ve got a lot of depth.”
The 29-year-old highlighted their last outing as a perfect example, when substitutes Mitch Nichols and Rocky Visconte lit up the field on their arrival and then combined to produce the last minute winner against Perth Glory.
“Our depth has shown on the pitch, especially in our game against Perth,” he said.
“The substitutes that came on changed the game for us and they-re going to be important especially during these mid-week games.
“There might be some players rested, so everyone will be used and I think it will definitely separate the boys from the men.”
The Brisbane custodian has kept five clean sheets so far this campaign, equal most with Melbourne Victory shot-stopper Michael Petkovic, and is hoping to add to his tally this Saturday against the ninth-placed Newcastle Jets.
Yet to lose at home this season, Theoklitos said it was vital for his side to pick up maximum points if they want to continue their quest in making Suncorp Stadium a difficult place for opposing teams.
“We-re quite fit because we had a good, solid, four month pre-season but it-s important that we recover well between games and focus on it game-by-game,” he said.
“It-s really critical for us to keep this run of form going, especially at home.
“Hopefully we can get some points on the board, and let the others chase us.
“We-ve got a good home record, and we-ve talked about making Suncorp a fortress so we-ve got to continue winning games.”
Brisbane Roar take on Newcastle Jets on Saturday 16 October at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 7.45pm.
Kids under 15 get in for FREE – so be sure to organise your tickets in advance by calling Ticketek on 132 849 or dropping into any Ticketek agency.