The disappointment of the club’s recent five-match winless streak is what Brisbane Roar will use as motivation in their attempts to reduce the nine-point gap between themselves and Hyundai A-League competition leaders Central Coast Mariners.
The disappointment of the club-s recent five-match winless streak is what Brisbane Roar will use as motivation in their attempts to reduce the nine-point gap between themselves and Hyundai A-League competition leaders Central Coast Mariners.
Sunday-s match-up with third-placed Melbourne Heart is looming as a must-win for the current league champions, who would extend their advantage over their Victorian rivals to six points with a win at AAMI Park.
Roar midfielder Erik Paartalu believes the bond between the players is stronger than ever.
“It was hard to take at the time, we were all hurting for a couple of weeks when it was happening. But now we just feel like we-re at a better place as a team and as a unit,” he said.
“Maybe we had to go on that journey to come to where we are now and realise we-re not unstoppable and we really need to work hard in every single game and for every single point in this league.”
The Heart let a vital chance to catch Brisbane slip away on Wednesday night, failing to convert any of their 13 attempts on goal and conceding a late Mariners winner to leave themselves without a victory in their past four Hyundai A-League matches.
Heading into the business end of the season, the former Gretna and Greenock Morton midfielder said a single point could prove the difference when the final standings are decided.
“They could have been equal with us, we-re in no position to relax,” Paartalu said.
“We-ve got a very hard task in trying to catch the Mariners now and every game is vital to try and take maximum points.
“We won-t stop until the last game of the season, we-ve shown that time and time again that we-re a team that goes to the final whistle of the last game.”
In other team news, captain Matt Smith is expected to line up against the Heart tomorrow night after the defender-s corked thigh posed no problems during this morning-s training session.
Melbourne Heart v Brisbane Roar Saturday, 21 January 2012 Venue: AAMI Park Local kick-off: 7:45pm
Referees: Chris Beath / Shaun Evans / Hakan Anaz / Lucian Laverdure
Head to head: All matches (played 4): Melbourne Heart wins 1, Brisbane Roar wins 3, (0 draws) Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 1
Melbourne Heart squad: 1. Clint Bolton (gk), 2. Michael Marrone, 3. Brendan Hamill, 4. Simon Colosimo, 6. Matt Thompson (c), 7. Rutger Worm, 8. Kristian Sarkies, 9. Maycon, 11. Alex Terra, 13. Jonatan Germano, 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Jason Hoffman, 18. Curtis Good, 19. Eli Babalj, 23. Mate Dugandzic, 30. Sebastian Mattei (gk) *two to be omitted*
In: Eli Babalj (promoted), Simon Colosimo (returns from injury)
Unavailable: Nick Kalmar (back - 4 weeks), Kliment Taseski (foot - 4 to 6 weeks), Fred (groin - 4 to 6 weeks), Wayne Srhoj (quad - 1 week)
Brisbane Roar squad: 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, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 22. Thomas Broich *three to be omitted*
In: 19. Jack Hingert (promoted), 18. Luke Brattan (promoted), 9. Kofi Danning (promoted)