Sydney FC will welcome back two big guns for Saturday night’s blockbuster Hyundai A-League game with Melbourne Victory, but veteran defender Sasa Ognenovski’s return to first team duty is still unknown.
The ex-Socceroos hard-man is battling a hip problem which has kept him out of the last three games, including last week’s 2-1 defeat to Perth Glory, the club’s first of the season.
Ognenovski is having trouble striding out when he runs and didn’t take part in the Sky Blues session in the rain on Thursday.
While he is long odds to line-up against Victory, marquee man Marc Janko and defender Sebastian Ryall will come back into the team for the clash at Etihad Stadium.
The two sides played out a thrilling 0-0 draw in Sydney earlier this season but Victory possess plenty of firepower in their side with the likes of Besart Berisha, Archie Thompson, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Kosta Barbarouses.
“We know we are going to have to be very strong,” Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold told reporters on Thursday.
“Melbourne Victory will be a big test for us. Anyone who can win 3-0 on a cricket pitch has to be favourites for the A-League.
“Kevin Muscat’s doing a good job down there. But we've analysed them this week and hopefully I can expose a few of the weaknesses I've seen.
"It will be about sticking to the game-plan and being ready for the fight."
Meanwhile, Arnold said injured duo Ali Abbas and Corey Gameiro – both gone for the season with serious knee problems – were recovering well from their operations and in good spirits.
Sydney is searching far and wide for a couple of injury-replacements to strengthen the squad once the January transfer window opens.
“The agents are emailing me non-stop, at three and four in the morning my phone is going off and buzzing with more players to bring out,” Arnold said
“I only want to bring players that will strengthen the starting XI. I want competition for places and we need depth in the squad.
“I’m not going to bring out someone to sit on the bench and just to put depth in the squad. I want to bring out quality otherwise I’ll give Australian kids a go.”comments