63-time Socceroos midfielder, Brett Holman, believes the Roar are capable of challenging any side in the Hyundai A-League with a fully-fit squad.
Holman himself returned from a lengthy injury lay-off in the Roar’s last Hyundai A-League clash against the Glory last Thursday with a superb 30 minutes off the bench.
He netted the decisive goal in a 3-2 win, his first Hyundai A-League strike since Round 6 and says the Roar will treat the remaining ten games as an extended finals series.
“I was just happy to be out there and amongst it, but it was a great time to be able to contribute like that in such an important game for us,” Holman said.
“We have to treat the remaining games like finals, go out there and leave every single ounce of energy on the pitch.”
The Roar will be looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season on the road against Central Coast Mariners tomorrow night (6:50pm KO QLD time).
The only previous meeting this season between the two sides finished in a scoreless draw at Suncorp Stadium in Round 5, but Holman says the squad will be buoyed by a typical Roar performance in last round’s win.
“That performance was what Brisbane Roar is all about – when the going gets tough, that’s when you have to show character and I think everyone saw that against Perth,” Holman added.
Experience defender Jade North is the latest player to return from injury while fellow defenders Corey Brown, Daniel Bowles and Dane Ingham are all promoted to the squad alongside young attacker Shannon Brady.
With a number of key players getting minutes under their belts in recent matches, Holman believes the Roar has what it takes to make a run towards finals football in 2018.
“With almost everybody back fit, we know we can compete against any team in the league,” Holman said.
“We have had a disappointing season so far and hopefully the fans can get behind us and see that we’re giving everything to make the top six.”
Hyundai A-League Round 18: Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Saturday, 27 January
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Blake POWELL, 10.Danny De SILVA, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16.Liam ROSE, 20.Adam PEARCE (Gk), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Wout BRAMA, 24.Lachlan WALES, 27.Peter SKAPETIS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (returns from international duty), 23.Wout BRAMA (returns from injury )
Unavailable: 11.Connor PAIN (hamstring injury), 21.Kye ROWLES (foot injury)
Brisbane Roar FC Squad: 2.Dane INGHAM, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 9.Massimo MACCARONE, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Corey GAMEIRO, 13.Jade NORTH, 16.Mitchell OXBORROW, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (Gk), 22.Eric BAUTHEAC, 31.Brendan WHITE (Gk), 36.Daniel LECK, 77.Ivan FRANJIC **two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Dane INGHAM (promoted), 4.Daniel BOWLES (promoted), 5.Corey BROWN (promoted), 13.Jade NORTH (returns from injury), Shannon BRADY (promoted)
Outs: 3.Luke DEVERE (hamstring – 2-4 weeks), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (suspended – 1 match), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (foot – 1 week)
Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (finger – 2 weeks), 18.Joe CALETTI (foot – 10 weeks), 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (ankle – 1 week)