Sydney FC’s new striker Ranko Despotovic is in line to make his A-League debut on Saturday as the Sky Blues face Wellington in search of a third straight win.
The Serbian international arrived in Sydney on Sunday and coach Frank Farina says if he gets through the next two training sessions, he’ll be included in the squad for the Allianz Stadium encounter.
“We didn’t bring him here to sit around,” Farina said ahead of training on Thursday.
“We’ll assess his physical state but, if he looks OK and gets through today and tomorrow, there’s every chance he’ll be on the bench.”
The 30-year-old, who joins Sydney from Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds, is the ideal replacement for former Sky Blue striker Joel Griffiths at the point of attack.
And Farina is hoping he’ll fit seamlessly into the front-third structure with Italian playmaker Alessandro Del Piero.
“You don’t change your structure or the manner you play for one player and we think he will fit in with what we’re doing at the moment,” he said.
“It won’t change any way which Alessandro plays for us at all.”
The last time Sydney FC met Wellington in January, they posted the club’s biggest A-League win, thumping Phoenix 7-1 as Del Piero delivered a masterclass netting four goals.
But Farina is not expecting a similar scoreline despite several Phoenix players having travelled to play in New Zealand’s World Cup first-leg qualifier away to Mexico.
If anything, he feels Wednesday’s 4-2 home loss in the return leg to miss out on a spot in Brazil will fuel the Kiwi members of the team on Saturday.
“That was last season. They’re a different side now – a better side,” Farina said.
“Jeremy Brockie is a very dangerous player as is (Paul) Ifill and (Carlos) Hernandez.
“I think missing out on the World Cup, the majority of the New Zealand players will be wanting to prove a point.”
Terry McFlynn’s wait for a first appearance this season is likely to continue with Farina saying he won’t tinker too much with last week’s winning line-up which defeated Melbourne Heart 2-0.
Defender Mark Warren, who sat out the clash through suspension, will miss this week due to injury as he recovers from a groin strain, with Ali Abbas to replace him in the left-back role again.
Tiago Calvano will also miss the clash as he serves the rest of his two-match suspension and is likely to be out for several more games with a ruling on his charge of making contact with a referee to be handed down next week.