Football or hammer: Sasa unsure on future

Veteran defender Sasa Ognenovski is enjoying life at Sydney FC under Graham Arnold but hasn’t made his mind up about whether to play on next season.

The Socceroo centre back joined the Sky Blues from Qatari outfit Umm-Salal in February and his deal with the A-League club finishes at the end of this campaign.

But Ognenovski has played in all six of the competition’s rounds this season, scoring one goal, with the Sky Blues remaining unbeaten.

The defender’s form has been good but he turns 36 in April next year and isn’t making any long-term plans now.

“I’ll make that decision at the end of the season [about playing on],” Ognenovski said.

“I’m just keen to concentrate on the season, not worry too much about what’s going to happen next year. If I still feel like I’ve got the motivation to play, I will.

“If not, I’ll grab a brick, three-inch nail and pull my old hammer out and hang them up.”

Sydney FC have been reborn under Arnold’s coaching and Ognenovski has formed an effective partnership at the back with Nikola Petkovic.

“We’ve had four clean sheets now in a row, undefeated still, one of three teams,” he said.

“It’s a positive start but as well all know the A-League is a playoff system so it’s not important to peak now. It’s important to peak end of April/May time, the pointy end of the season.

“It’s good that we’re collecting points now and we’re undefeated, because obviously you build the confidence in the team that even when you’re not playing at your best you can still grind out results and do that. It’s very important throughout the season.

“We’re looking to peak come the end of the season and not peak now.”

Despite the recent loss of Corey Gameiro to injury, the Sky Blues have real depth in their playing ranks.

“Arnie recruited quite well in the off-season,” Ognenovski said.

“We had some very good talent there last year that was injured, which sort of hindered last season as well. At the end we were only a point or two off third and second spot and last year was, in Sydney FC terms, a disaster.

“We weren’t too far last year and we’ve added some quality to the team this year and hopefully we can push for a high spot on the ladder.”

Sydney FC faces Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday. Ognenovski believes City have improved since round 1, when the two teams finished with a 1-1 draw at Allianz Stadium.

“Obviously their cohesion – although it was amazing having David Villa running around for them – it probably unsettled the group a little bit,” the 35-year old said.

“Now that they know their team is and all their structures they’ve worked on prior to David Villa being there, they’ll be settling back in, although they’ll be disappointed with the result against Central Coast.

“To be 2-0 up and to concede two goals and get a draw, I think they’ll be disappointed, and it’ll be something that we’ll look to exploit I guess. If you’re two-nil up, especially at home, you should be able to tie in the points.

“They’ll be disappointed and I’m sure they’ll come out firing against us.”