After enduring more than a month on the road at the end of last year, Brisbane Roar are about to begin a solid run of home matches that Head Coach John Aloisi is confident will take his side to finals football in April.
The Roar host Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (4.15pm kick off). This weekend's match-day Community Partner is Wounded Heroes Australia.
The match will see the club's two millionth home fan come through the turnstiles with everyone in the stadium in the running for a range of terrific prizes. To secure your seats NOW click here
The clash against the Mariners is the first of six out of the last 10 rounds in which the Roar will play at home.
They host Newcastle Jets the following weekend (Friday, 12 February 7pm KO) then also have home fixtures against Western Sydney (Friday 4 March, 7pm KO), Melbourne Victory (Saturday 12 March, 6.30pm KO), Sydney FC (Saturday, 26 March, 6.30 KO) and the Jets again (Sunday, 3 April, 5pm KO).
The Roar beat the Mariners 1-0 in Gosford in December thanks to a fabulous 85th minute strike by Dimitri Petratos (below).
"We've got two home games coming up, we want to win at home and keep on winning at home," Aloisi said.
"We've got six out of the last 10 games at home. If we do well in them that will put us in a good position at the end of the season."
Aloisi named a preliminary 18-player squad today for the Mariners game that included the return from injury of experienced defender Shane Stefanutto, who was rested last week as a precaution after experiencing muscle tightness during training.
All 16 players involved in last weekend's 3-1 demolition of Sydney FC were named again.
Central Coast come to Brisbane off their own 3-1 win, away to Wellington Phoenix, and are a revived side following the signing last month of Spanish veteran Luis Garcia.
Garcia (below) has come off the bench in the last two games to set up and score goals.
Aloisi concedes Garcia gives the Mariners an "X-factor" but says there will be no tight man-marking of the former Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona ace.
"He's going to be one to watch out for. We just have to deny the space, sort of like what we do against any opposition when they've got their quality players," the Roar Boss said.
"It is more important that we play within our structures. It is going to be a great challenge but as long we focus on our performance, we feel we can beat any team in this competition."
Brisbane Roar FC v Central Coast Mariners, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday, 6 February 2016, 4:15PM kick off
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Javier HERVAS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO **two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO (return from injury), 16.Devante CLUT (promoted); Outs: Nil
Unavailable: 6.Jerome POLENZ (quadriceps – 8 weeks), 11.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (quadriceps – 5 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Paul IZZO (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 10.Luis GARCIA, 13.Alastair BRAY (GK) 15.Brad McDONALD, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Francesco STELLA, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 23.Tomislav USKOK, 28.Matthew FLETCHER**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Harry ASCROFT (return from suspension), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c) (return from suspension), 13.Alastair BRAY (GK) (return from injury), 23.Tomislav USKOK (promoted); Outs: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (not selected), 40.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK) (not selected)
Unavailable: Roy O’DONOVAN (suspended – 4 matches)
Referee: Matthew Conger; Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald; Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin; Fourth Official: Alex King
TV: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4pm (Qld time) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio: 612 ABC Brisbane, 92.5 ABC Central Coast, ABC Local Radio Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Coast FM 96.3 (Central Coast)
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