Three points the perfect birthday present for Sarota


On-loan Brisbane Roar midfielder Adam Sarota is delaying his 26th birthday celebrations until after tomorrow night’s important match against arch rivals Sydney FC.

The FC Utrecht-based utility said he kept his birthday plans low-key, instead focussing on his preparation for the crucial home clash.

The last time Sarota played at Suncorp Stadium was nearly five years ago, and fittingly, it was in a 1-0 victory over Sydney FC.

Sarota said a similar win tomorrow night would be a great present to mark his home return.         

“Sydney is two places ahead of us and we need to start picking up those points because you don’t want that gap to grow so it’s an important game for us,” he said.

Sarota played his first full game this Hyundai A-League season in Saturday’s thrilling 3-3 draw against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford and takes positives out of the Roar’s fighting spirit.

“It was a very strange game, I think it was good for a neutral supporter with six goals but from our perspective I think we can take some positives out of that,” he said.

“Even though we did go behind twice we actually came back so I think we can take that as a positive.”

Having nursed a knee injury throughout the start of the season, Sarota admits the quick turnaround for tomorrow night’s match will be tough. 

“It was my first 90 minutes then we have the game tomorrow so it’s going to be difficult but I think I’ve just got to be smart, get a massage in and make sure I do all the right things,” he said.

Brisbane will be without influential captain Matt McKay for the next two matches as he is in Socceroos camp ahead of the start of the AFC Asian Cup, giving Sarota increased responsibility in the middle of the park.    

Sarota said he is confident he can fill the void left by McKay and form a decent partnership with Luke Brattan the Roar’s engine room.  

“Losing Matty is a big thing for us, he’s a great player and he’s also our captain but I’ve played with Brattsy before back when we played in the youth team together so I think we should gel well together,” he said.

“It’s always going to be difficult without Matty there but I think Brattsy and I should be able to do it.”

The return to the starting eleven for Brattan in place of McKay is expected to be the only change to the Roar side from the draw with the Mariners.

Leading the attack once again will be Jean Carlos Solorzano, who should be full of confidence following his two goals on Saturday, his first Hyundai A-league strikes in almost four years.    

Brisbane Roar is up against a Sydney FC side that has not won a game in their last five matches.

Young defender James Donachie said the Roar wouldn’t be taking Sydney FC lightly despite the Sky Blues’ recent clip down the table after a strong start to the season.

“They are still a very good team … I see (striker Alex) Brosque is back. Every team has injuries and it is about depth in the squad. They will come here with a good team and we definitely have to perform,” he said.

Donachie, who scored his first Hyundai A-League goal on Saturday against the Mariners, said he was enjoying the busy match schedule in which the Roar will play three games in eight days.

“I don’t mind playing a game, coming home to have a rest and play another game, keeps you on the boil,” he said.

“I like it and I think the rest of the boys do too.”

Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Chris Beath

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 8.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 612 ABC Brisbane, ABC Local Radio  QLD, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app .

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matt ACTON (gk), 34.Shannon BRADY **two to be omitted**

Ins: 18.Luke BRATTAN (returns from injury), 20, Kofi DANNING (promoted), 34.Shannon BRADY (promoted)

Outs: 17.Matt McKAY (International duty – 2 matches)

Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (wrist – 4 weeks), 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – indefinite), 19.Jack HINGERT (knee – 2 weeks), 22.Thomas BROICH (ankle – 4 weeks)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12 Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. George TIMOTHEOU, 25. Aaron CALVER, 28. Max BURGESS **two to be omitted**

Ins: 13. Christopher NAUMOFF(promoted), 24. George TIMOTHEOU (promoted), 28. Max BURGESS (promoted).

Outs: 17. Terry ANTONIS (International Duty – 2 matches).

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 5. Matt JURMAN (illness – 1 weeks), 19. Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite).