With the same accuracy as one of his sweet cross-field passes, Roar midfielder Luke Brattan has put a laser-like focus on Brisbane’s Round 23 Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
“It’s like a Grand Final before the finals for us,” Brattan said as the Roar look to rebound from Wednesday’s disappointing loss to Western Sydney Wanderers and get their late-season top six push back on track.
“We’ll put everything into it and hopefully get a result. We had a bad result on Wednesday but we’re always confident, we play football and we look to dominate every game we play in.
"We’ve proved over the last five years that we can bounce back and we have a lot of character in the club.
"It was disappointing on Wednesday, we weren’t good enough but we’ve looked at the video and highlighted the points we weren’t great."
With eight senior players unavailable on Wednesday – four on international duty and four injured – Roar Head Coach Frans Thijssen called on Brattan to fill in as a central defender against the Wanderers and he responded with a man of the match performance.
Brattan described playing in the back line as a "bit different" but added he was more than prepared to reprise the role if required.
"I’ll play anywhere the coach wants me to play, that’s how badly I want to play, whether it’s left-wing, centre-back or goalkeeper. Wherever I play, I want to play well."
Tonight's match will be Brattan's 20th of the Hyundai A-League season which is more than any other player in the Roar squad. More significantly though, while Brandon Borrello, Dimitri Petratos (both 18 games) and Jamie Young (17 games) are close behind – Brattan has played 1665 minutes, 150 minutes more than the next most-present Roar player (Young – 1513 minutes).
Brattan is also overdue for a goal, having had 34 shots with 13 of them on target but his maiden goal of the season still eludes him. He scored three times in the 2013/14 season.
The Roar received a late boost with defenders Jade North and Daniel Bowles added to the squad which also includes Young Roar centre back Lachlan Jackson.
Brisbane need the three points to bridge the gap on the ladder to six-placed Melbourne City but will need to arrest a good run of home form by the hosts.
City will be without their influential playmaker Aaron Mooy, who is on international duty, but welcome back former Socceroo Josh Kennedy and David Williams from injury while fellow striker Harry Novillo returns from illness.
City are unbeaten in seven league matches at AAMI Park, a run which began with a 1-0 win over the Roar in Round 9. They have conceded just three goals in those seven home wins.
Melbourne City have won three of their last four against Brisbane, while the Roar have lost their last four away games against Melbourne City and failed to score in the last two matches against them.