Sky Blues plot best way to handle hectic schedule

STEVE Corica will have one eye on Saturday night’s Sydney derby and the other on Tuesday’s FFA Cup final as Sydney FC embark on a taxing three games in six days.

The Sky Blues’ coach has hinted he’ll field a vastly similar line-up to the one that drew 1-1 away to Adelaide, with Danny De Silva poised to bolster the bench on return from injury.

Behind the scenes club physios and fitness staff are bracing for a sharp turnaround before the next looming trip to Coopers Stadium.

“We do take it into account,” Corica said.



“We want to win against the Wanderers, that’s the main focus. But also in the back of our minds the Cup is important as well because there’s a trophy up for grabs and we want to win that again.”

Corica joined the chorus of complaints about the Cup final’s positioning between A-League rounds, a situation that disadvantages the teams going deepest into the tournament.

He agreed with Reds coach Marco Kurz that Football Federation Australia should seriously consider scheduling the decider before the A-League begins, but also said the squad must simply “get on with” their bid to lift back-to-back trophies amid the tangle of the season proper.

Steve Corica watches over Sydney FC training this week.Source:AAP

It’ll be a tight squeeze — Sydney have three days to recover from a customarily physical clash with the Wanderers at the SCG.

They travel to Adelaide on Monday afternoon for Tuesday’s final before flying straight to Melbourne to face City another three days later on Friday night.

The Reds have a somewhat easier run, with an extra day’s recovery before and an additional two afterwards, with their following fixture falling next Sunday away to Central Coast.

“Adelaide get the extra day rest,” Corica said. “But the boys are fit, and provided everyone stays fit after the Wanderers game we’ll be fine.”

De Silva’s return is a boost he hoped would “give us a little bit of what we’ve been lacking, a bit of X-factor”, especially since Trent Buhagiar tore his ACL.

But Sydney won’t have the luxury of rotating the attack, with Corica confirming the young playmaker will be reintroduced slowly off the bench against both the Wanderers and Reds.

To their advantage is the experience of players like striker Adam Le Fondre, whose body is used to the rigours of midweek football in the English Championship.

Adam Le Fondre is used to a hectic schedule.Source:AAP

Then, of course, there’s the psychological edge that comes with having lost only one of the last 14 derbies and roundly beaten the Wanderers in this month’s Cup semi-final.

“I think that’ll rev them up,” Corica said.

“But also in the back of their minds they’ll know we beat them 3-0 on their territory and we’ve got a good track record against them.”

That said, he was happy to note Markus Babbel is doing positive things for the red and black and joked the German’s declaration that Sydney are “one of the favourites for the title and we are the worst team in the league” was just “a little bit of mind games” to get the best out of his players.

He was also pleased to hear ticket sales in the away section had been sluggish, with only about 3300 Wanderers active supporters expected in a crowd of more than 30,000 — though others may have purchased general admission entries.

“That’s a good thing,” he said.

“The more sky blue, the better for us.

“It’s our home game … we’re expecting a massive crowd.”

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Originally published as Sky Blues plot best way to handle hectic schedule

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