Sydney FC are coming up against the Brisbane Roar in a clash that is surrounded by controversy.
All strikers should have an insatiable appetite for goals. It’s the currency they deal in.
When the goals start to dry up though, it can sometimes cause their confidence to wobble. When that’s coupled with their team’s inability to find the back of the net, it’s the forwards who will bear the brunt of supporter’s ire.
Prior to their stunning 4-3 comeback win against Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar’s failings in front of goal this season had been well documented, with grumblings in some quarters already over team selection and tactics.
To answer the critics?
Step forward Roy O’Donovan.
His hat-trick last Sunday took his A-League tally to 42, which places him in the top 20 scorers of all time.
O’Donovan averages a goal every two games-an impressive ratio in anyone’s book. But despite the Roar’s recent barren spell in front of goal, the striker never lost faith in his or his side’s ability.
“Through good and bad times, I’m relentless, it’s my best quality” offered the Irishman post game, proudly clutching his signed match ball (I’m not sure on whether Jamie Maclaren took one home with him too).
“Any striker will tell you, you’re only as good as the people behind you, and today the character and spirit on display was outstanding”.
O’Donovan was convinced that the result could be the catalyst to give the Roar’s season a much needed shot in the arm.
“It’s huge, if we find ourselves behind at any stage of the season, what can we say? We scored four in the second half against a team who are top of the league.”
“It’s worth more to us than any 1-0 win or just grinding out a result to be honest”.
His thoughts were echoed by Coach Robbie Fowler, who was delighted to get his first league win on Australian soil, and hailed the fight shown by his side.
“If you didn’t know it already, we’ve showed we have character in abundance” said Fowler.
“Our belief and confidence has always been very good. I’ve just said to the players, today you’ve shown you can mix it with the very best”.
As the Roar look ahead to this weekend’s journey over the ditch to face Wellington Phoenix, Fowler will have some food for thought when it comes to selection.
Both Jai Ingham and Jordan Courtney-Perkins impressed in their premature introductions to the fore.
Making early substitutions had not been a sign of the new coach’s tenure so far, but Fowler conceded that having the predominantly right-footed Scott Neville at left back had narrowed the pitch and a change was necessary.
Neville reverted back into central defence with Jake McGing giving way. Up front Aaron Amadi-Holloway, used sparingly thus far this campaign, was handed his first start and claimed a goal, bundling in from close range after a far post header from Ingham.
The Welshman looks set to continue to partner O’Donovan with both Brad Inman and Dylan Wenzel-Halls waiting in the wings.
Despite the bottom-placed Phoenix yet to record a victory this term, man of the moment O’Donovan sounded a warning ahead of the trip.
“It won’t be an easy game, they have nothing to lose, but we have some confidence to take over there, it’s important that we back this up”.