After building the fortress walls, Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold will now be looking to batter them down as he returns to Bluetongue Stadium for the first time since his departure from the Central Coast Mariners, this Saturday (kick off 7:30pm).
Arnold lost only seven home games out of the 49 played at Bluetongue Stadium during his time at the club and he anticipates a mixed reception when he walks out of the tunnel for the first time as an opposition Hyundai A-League Head Coach.
“Any game at Central Coast Stadium is tough,” Arnold said.
“When I was up there we built a fortress and not many people took points away from Bluetongue Stadium [as it used to be called].
“I will be expecting a very, very tough game and a very fired up Mariners team.
“It’s going to be a fantastic feeling [returning on Saturday], it brings back a lot of memories,” he continued.
“No doubt there will be a mixed reception but I’m hoping for a very good reception because of all the success that I bought the club over the three years that I was there.
“When I left the people were very grateful and they gave me a very good send off before I went to Japan. They understood why I went to Japan, Japan didn’t work out, but the Mariners had first option on me and didn’t take it so I’ve come to Sydney FC.”
With the relief of a break during the AFC Asia Cup 2015 Arnold said the squad is looking rejuvenated as he said his only squad concern was the clearance of the ITC’s of new duo Jacques Faty and Mickael Tavares.
“I think the team is looking very good,” he said.
“The two French Senegalese boys have bought in a lot of enthusiasm and bought in a high level of professionalism that seems to have rubbed off on the boys as well and the spirits are very high.
“Jacques and Mickael and Rob have come with a lot of quality so the training sessions since they’ve come in have really intensified,” he continued.
“They’ve brought in competition for places again and that’s what I want and we’re hopeful that their ITC’s will come through for in time [for Saturday].”
Sydney FC travel to Central Coast Stadium on Saturday 24 January as they emerge from the Hyundai A-League hiatus. Follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for live match updates of catch the match on Fox Sports 4.
*Graham Arnold is sponsored by proud Partner Hitec Drainage.
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