Roar 'embraces' prospect of 40-game season

Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey insists he’s not worried by the prospect of a 40-game season after his side moved into the FFA Cup Round of 16 with a 4-0 win away to Stirling Lions.

The Roar could play up to 40 competitive games during the 2014-15 campaign, given their AFC Champions League and FFA Cup commitments alongside the A-League season.

The figure is normal in Europe but a significant step-up for A-League clubs, given the size of squads in Australia and fitness programs undertaken.

Brisbane won last season’s A-League premiership and championship while their closest opponents had to juggle ACL commitments.

However, the Roar could face up to 11 extra matches this term (six in the ACL and five in the FFA Cup), if they go on a cup run, forcing a balancing act.

Mulvey insisted the club was prepared and excited by the prospect of a hectic schedule, although he conceded playing his side’s first FFA Cup on the opposite side of the country wasn’t ideal.

“I’d love a home game (next), I think we’ve done our travelling,” Mulvey said. “We couldn’t have come any further in Australia.

“But the teams that are not in the Champions League would swap places with us in a heartbeat. We’ve embraced it.

“We know how many games potentially we could play this year and we’ve planned accordingly.”

Mulvey said Brisbane were hopeful of adding a couple of players “in the next couple of weeks” as part of their preparations for an extended campaign.

The Roar’s major departures in the off-season have been Besart Berisha and Ivan Franjic.

Macedonian hitman Mensur Kurtisi, who is seen as Berisha’s direct replacement, didn’t travel to Perth after an interrupted pre-season.

Kurtisi linked up with the Roar in mid-July for a fortnight, but has only recently returned to training after getting married in his homeland and enjoying his honeymoon.

Mulvey said Kurtisi, along with Matt McKay, Luke Brattan and Liam Miller who all didn’t travel, would be part of the 25-man squad to travel to Townsville on Friday for the four-team competition against Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets and Northern Fury.

Jean Carlos Solorzano, who is competing with Kurtisi for a starting spot up front, came off the bench to make it three goals in two games with a strike against Stirling and Mulvey was pleased with his form.

New signing Daniel Bowles stepped in for Franjic against Stirling and Mulvey said he did well after a slow start.

Meanwhile, Mulvey also added he felt the change of venue had helped his side.

Stirling were forced to play the match at the Western Australia Athletics Stadium not their home ground Macedonia Park, due to inadequate floodlights.

“We were helped by the fact the fans were about 40 metres from the ground so they couldn’t affect the atmosphere which negated the home ground advantage,” Mulvey said.

Bayswater City will take on Melbourne Victory at the same venue on Wednesday, after the floodlights at their home ground, Frank Drago Reserve, were also deemed inadequate.


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