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Rival coaches Tony Popovic and Frank Farina face contrasting selection posers for Saturday’s A-League Sydney derby clash.
Popovic’s Wanderers head into the Parramatta Stadium clash in second spot, while Farina’s Sydney FC are one of several clubs in mid-table separated by just a handful of points.
Popovic has the luxury of having all his key players available and must work out who to leave out.
“It makes selection more difficult, but it’s a good headache to have,” Popovic said.
“In a derby anything can happen on the day. I expect it to be a real passionate affair.
Farina is forced into several changes.
Striker Richard Garcia is the latest addition to a Sydney FC injury list already including Joel Chianese, Rhyan Grant, Peter Triantis and Terry Antonis.
Farina will also be without suspended duo Nick Carle and Tiago Calvano, while emerging youngster Hagi Gligor is on international duty.
However he does get back defender Seb Ryall from injury and has the option of promoting some proven veterans into his starting side.
“Fortunately we’ve got the likes of Terry (McFlynn), Brett (Emerton) and Matt Thompson didn’t start last week, we have options,” Farina said.
“It’s still not nice when you lose three or four players from the previous week.
“I think we’ve got the depth that we can cover them.”
Popovic wasn’t fussed that ladder-leaders Brisbane had opened up a seven-point gap over his club in the race for the Premier’s Plate, which his team won last season.
“Roar is doing great and credit to them, but our focus is just on doing what we’re doing,” said Popovic, who was again forced to deny playmaker Shinji Ono had signed for a Japanese club.
Farina anticipated a strong response from the Wanderers following their shock 3-1 home loss to Wellington on New Year’s Day.
“They’re a very dangerous team at home. It’s going to be tough,” Farina said.
Oddly, the home club has never won any of the four previous Sydney derbies.
But Sydney have won just one of their last 15 away games – their only victory on the road coming against last-placed Melbourne Heart.
“This season has been a mixed bowl if you like, Certainly it’s something we’d like to improve on,” Farina said.
- With AAP