A nine-day turnaround has John Aloisi confident Brisbane Roar will be up for the fight in Tuesday night’s AFC Champions League soccer clash with Japanese side Kashima Antlers.
An exhausted Roar were smashed 6-0 by Ulsan Hyundai in their most recent continental outing but this time around, Aloisi believes they’re poised to give a full and proper account of themselves at the Kashima Stadium.
After a run of six games in all competitions without a win, Brisbane returned to form with a 3-1 A-League victory over the Newcastle Jets more than a week ago – their 13th match since the start of the year.
Tommy Oar (hamstring) and Thomas Kristensen (thigh) won’t play in Japan, but the rest of the squad is refreshed, recharged and ready to reverse a worrying trend of Australian capitulations in the Champions League.
“We got through that hard period. The positive is we’ve had a big break,” Aloisi told AAP.
“In terms of the players we’ll put out there, they’re going to be fresh and ready to go – unlike the Ulsan game.
“That was a hard slog for us, but this time we’re much better prepared.”
Veteran Thomas Broich is likely to move onto the left wing to replace Oar, who tore his hamstring against the Jets and was initially feared to be out until the start of the A-League finals.
However, the injury is not as bad as first thought and Aloisi said the fringe Socceroos winger is likely to recover well before then.
Key midfielder Kristensen should be back for Sunday’s A-League trip to Adelaide, while centre-back Luke DeVere (calf) is also closing in on a return.
Back-up gloveman Jamie Young will start in goal with Michael Theo left behind in Brisbane.
Fresh off his double against Newcastle, Jamie Maclaren is likely to have a point to prove after he was left out of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou’s 30-man squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
“He’s been sharp at training and in Newcastle he actually felt at his best again, in terms of his sharpness and getting into those goalscoring positions,” Aloisi said.
“He ended up doing really well this time last year, towards the end of the season.
“Obviously, he’s disappointed that he didn’t get selected, but I think he’s the type of player who’ll want to show on the pitch what he can do.”