No rest for Sky Blues before finals
FOOTBALL: The band is back together for Sydney FC, with coach Graham Arnold throwing returning Socceroos Danny Vukovic and Rhyan Grant straight back into the side to face Melbourne City on Saturday night.
Eschewing the temptation to start resting players before the finals, with the Premier's Plate already secured, Arnold said the weekend of enforced rest his squad will have in the first round of the finals would be enough respite, despite him largely playing the same starting XI all season.
"They've been selected for the national team for one reason and that's their fantastic form," Arnold said of Grant and Vukovic.
"They're two of our best players so they'll both come straight into the starting line-up on Saturday night.
"We'll play our best team available. I've never really believed in rotating too much, momentum is key. Players like minutes and consistency.
"Let's not forget after round 27 we have a weekend off, and if I start resting players now then they could end up with several weeks off, and is that the proper preparation going into the finals?
"We'll put our best team out on Saturday to win the game."
Sydney will continue its quest to match or better the record of 65 points set by the Brisbane Roar in the 11-team season of 2010-11, needing two wins and a draw from its last three games to set a new level from just 27 games.
"The mentality and the attitude is great and I expect that to happen again on Saturday," Arnold said.
"Training has been light this week after the trip to Perth but it's been nice and sharp and we have two more training sessions before the game and the boys are looking very good.
"It's all about us. I've said to the players many times this year we have our standards, our standards are very high and we have to play to our standards every week.
"If we do that, we're not too bothered about what the opposition do. It's not our problem or our issue where Melbourne City are sitting, it's about us winning and I expect us to win on Saturday night."