Sydney FC’s quartet of young guns have returned to the fold for this weekend’s away game against Perth Glory after a successful AFC U19 Championship campaign in China.
Sydney FC-s quartet of young guns have returned to the fold for this weekend-s away game against Perth Glory after a successful AFC U19 Championship campaign in China.
Rhyan Grant, Kofi Danning, Terry Antonis and Dimitri Petratos were back in training with the Sky Blues this week after helping Australia-s U19 squad to an outstanding runner-up performance against North Korea in the final.
“It was a good experience. The team did alright and we were unlucky not to win the whole thing, but we qualified for the (U19) World Cup which was the main goal,” said defender Rhyan Grant during training at Macquarie Uni on Thursday.
“We-ve come back with a bit of confidence so I think it might just give the team confidence too. We haven-t been here for a while so some of the (older) boys will be happy to see us. We-ll get back in there, have a bit of a laugh, and hopefully that will give us a winning mentality.”
Despite the heartbreaking last-minute loss in China, the lessons learned from playing an elite international tournament were not lost on Sydney coach Viteslav Lavicka.
“They did a very good job, it was a great experience for them to play in a big tournament in Asia,” he said.
“It-s youth level but every bit of international experience is good experience. They are back now, mentally fresh, maybe a bit tired, but I think it will be a good impact for us at the moment.”
The return of the quartet will afford Lavicka more options as he revealed he intends to tweak the lineup against Glory in response to the Blues- continued inability to pick up their first three-pointer of the season.
“After the last game in Melbourne, we are going to do some changes. We have more options now. We have a tactics session today (Thursday), so we will discuss (changes) and try something on the park, then make the final decision afterwards.”
Young striker Kofi Danning said he was glad to be back home in Australia and eager to get back onto the pitch to help turn around Sydney-s season.
“I think there is still a positive mood. We still have to get our first win but the boys are all positive and we know we can win, we-re just looking forward to the game,” he said.
History is on Sydney-s side with two wins in Perth compared to Glory-s sole home victory against the Sky Blues. Nevertheless Lavicka is expecting a fight from Ian Ferguson-s side, who themselves are struggling through a five-game losing streak.
“The long flight and to play in Perth is always difficult. They are dangerous, especially at home, they start quick and try to beat their opponent early on so we can expect a very tough game,” he said.
“The players and the whole team stick together and work hard, as well as the Sydney fans so we say thankyou to them, and hope we will do a good job over there.”