Goal-hungry striker Jean Carlos Solorzano has made a surprise return to the Roar squad as competition for places in Brisbane's forward line hots up ahead of tonight's Hyundai A-League clash with high-ríding Perth Glory at nib Stadium.
Solorzano hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the 76th minute of the Roar's last Hyundai A-League match, a Round 17 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on 13 February.
At the time it was feared the fleet-footed striker could miss up to six weeks. But a scan later showed the injury was not as bad as first feared.
That was welcome news for the Costa Rican who had scored goals in three consecutive games after the mid-season break and is now the Roar’s second top scorer with five goals (behind Henrique’s seven).
The washout of the Roar's game against Melbourne Victory last Friday night worked in Solorzano's favour and he returned to full training this week only having missed the Roar's AFC Champions League game against Beijing Guoan on Wednesday.
“The injury is behind me and there is no reason I can’t continue where I left off,” Solorzano said after training in Perth yesterday afternoon.
“If I get the chance to play I will work hard to do my job. It is not about me scoring goals, it is about all of us doing our jobs to get a result as a team.”
The Roar's inability to create a goal from a lion's share of possession against a 10-man Beijing– Brisbane eventually lost 0-1 on a stoppage time deflected free kick - has put the spotlight firmly on the forward line for tonight's clash against Perth, who go into the round as league leaders but under pressure from a chasing Victory.
With Roar heading straight to Japan after this game for Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Urawa Red Diamonds, the club has a squad of 20 players in Perth which gives interim Head Coach Frans Thijssen plenty of options for tonight's match.
Roar's international marquee Thomas Broich played a deeper role against Beijing but could revert to his usual wide left role tonight.
With Solorzano fit for selection and Henrique also back from a calf injury, the pressure is on new recruit Andrija Kaluderovic to hold his starting position.
Andrija had several half chances against the Chinese on Wednesday night but was closely marked by the Beijing defenders and could not quite make himself enough space to convert the opportunities that fell his way.
Thijssen also has choices on the right flank. Youngster Brandon Borrello has started there for the last month, but Dimitri Petratos is fit again after a knee injury and came on as a second-half substitute for Borrello in the Beijing game.
With the Roar facing a huge match workload over the next few weeks, Thijssen has advised his squad there will be player rotations and few, if any players, will play in every match over the next month.
That could see the backline also juggled for tonight's match with youngsters James Donachie and Corey Brown, who were on the bench on Wednesday night, pushing for selection.
German Jerome Polenz, who was not included in the Champions League squad because of visa player restrictions, also is expected to be in contention for selection at right back tonight.
It is the first time since Thijssen took charge in late November that he has had a full complement of players to choose from.
“Everyone is fit which is a good position to be in, but we also have a lot of matches,” he said.
“Wednesday night's result was disappointing for the group which makes it even more important we get good results in our next two games.
”Every player knows that if they don't do the job expected, there is one or even two players waiting on the sidelines to take their place.”
Saturday, 28 February 2015
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar FC
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:30pm local / 8:30pm AEST
Referee: Ben Williams
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio Broadcast: Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.
Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 3.Brandon O'NEILL, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 27.Dragan PALJIC, 28.Denis KRAMAR ***two to be omitted***
Ins: 3.Brandon O'NEILL (promoted), 20.Daniel DE SILVA (promoted)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI (hamstring – season), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (1 week – hamstring), 13.Diogo FEREIRA (hip – 3 weeks)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 2.Jerome POLENZ, 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.ANDRIJA Kaluderovic, 10.HENRIQUE, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.James DONACHIE, 17 Matt McKAY (c), 18.Luke BRATTAN, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Luke DeVERE ***two to be omitted***
Ins: 10.HENRIQUE (returns from injury), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (returns from injury), 33.Luke DeVERE (promoted)
Outs: 34.Shannon BRADY (not selected)