The absence of Mitch Nichols through international duty has paved the way for Issey Nakajima-Farran’s fourth start of the Hyundai A-League season in Brisbane Roar’s match against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.
The absence of Mitch Nichols through international duty has paved the way for Issey Nakajima-Farran-s fourth start of the Hyundai A-League season in Brisbane Roar-s match against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.
With Nichols away for FIFA World Cup qualifiers with the Qantas Socceroos, Head Coach Ange Postecoglou is likely to pull German attacking weapon Thomas Broich into a more central role, the spot which he played in for the majority of Brisbane-s pre-season.
Nakajma-Farran is expected to take Broich-s place in the pointy end of the formation.
Roar captain Matt Smith welcomed the change and warned that the Phoenix may have a tough job on their hands keeping the Canadian international contained after he was limited to cameo appearances off the bench for the side-s past two fixtures.
“Issey is a very talented player - he-s a bit like Henrique with his explosiveness and that you never really know what you-re going to get,” Smith said.
“He-s got the flair, he-s got that spark and he-s got the ability to create something from nothing.
“He gets his chance on Sunday and I-ve got no doubts he-ll take it.
“Yes, we lose Mitch and his ability but by bringing Thomas in there, it creates something a little bit different for us.
“It-s all to our structures, Ange is very aware of what-s going on and he wouldn-t do it unless he knew we could pull it off.”
Brisbane dropped their first points of the campaign last weekend in the 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory but will take pride in the fact they are the only team in the competition with a positive goal difference - 12.
Wellington sit eighth on the Hyundai A-League ladder having only accrued four points from their first five outings of the campaign and coming off the back of there losses, including two at home, Smith knows the Ricki Herbert-coached side will be itching for points.
“You always know with the Phoenix that you-re going to get a very physical encounter,” he said.
“They-re going to come out of the traps wanting to do well with their form away from home and we know we-ll have to compete for the full 90 minutes.
“They-re physically probably stronger boys than us which always poses a threat aerially, particularly with set pieces and counter attacks and things like that.”
Smith, who will celebrate his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance in Sunday-s clash, conceded his side needed to be on top of their game if they want to overcome the challenge of the Phoenix.
“I-ve watched a few of their games over the past few weeks and I think they-ve been unlucky,” he said.
“They-ve certainly had chances which is something we-ll have to be very aware of defensively because even against the Victory, they were unlucky not to get a couple of goals.”
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix Sunday, 13 November 2011 Venue: Suncorp Stadium Local kick-off: 4:00pm (5:00pm AEDT)
Referee: Jarred Gillett / AR1: Brad Hobson / AR2: Ashley Beecham /4th Official: Adam Kersey
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1 Radio broadcaster: 1035AM The Radio Network Wellington
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 12): Brisbane Roar wins 8, Wellington Phoenix wins 1 (3 draws)
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theoklitos (gk), 2. Matt Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 18. Luke Brattan, 20. Andrew Redmayne, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich *one to be omitted*
In: James Meyer (promoted), Kofi Danning (promoted) Out: 17. Mitch Nichols (International duty) Unavailable: 12. Matt Mundy (knee injury - 1 week)
Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark Paston (GK), 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 4. Brent Griffiths, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 9. Chris Greenacre, 11. Daniel, 12. Nicky Ward, 13. Niko Tsattalios, 15. Cameron Lindsay, 18. Ben Sigmund, 20, Tony Warner (GK), 21. Dani Sanchez, 22. Andrew Durante (C), 24, Alex Smith *one to be omitted*
In: Ben Sigmund (from suspension) Unavailable: Lucas Pantelis (knee injury - indefinite), Mirjan Pavlovic (broken arm - 4 weeks), Vince Lia (knee injury -3 weeks), Paul Ifill (groin injury - 2 weeks), Jimmy Downey (knee injury - indefinite)