|By JOHN GRECO
Alessandro Del Piero has pleaded with Sydney FC fans to stick behind the team as the Sky Blues try to work their way through one of the toughest times in the club's history.
Sydney remain rooted to the bottom of the A-League ladder following four straight losses and they are still searching for a new coach almost three weeks since Ian Crook's resignation.
There have been reports the club is close to confirming Frank Farina as their new boss until the end of the season, with Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond rejecting an approach to join the club.
Former Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is reportedly not a target for the Sky Blues, while the likes of Arie Haan, Avram Grant and Pierre Littbarski have been linked.
But it appears the players' sole focus is on getting their campaign off the ground by beating Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
Using his personal website, Del Piero called on the supporters to rally behind the club as they enter the most "significant" week of their season so far.
"The importance of our actions from today onwards is based on the far from easy period we are going through," the Italian star wrote.
"We have to show that we can manage it.
"Before coming to Sydney I played a 'few' matches and already lived through the situations like this one, probably even worse, in the sense of pressure and the created atmosphere that may influence the team.
"Being every day in the locker room, I know that we have enough will and determination to reverse the trend."
Just over 13,000 fans - their smallest home crowd of the year - turned up to watch Sydney's defeat to Adelaide on Friday.
While Del Piero said he is confident the team can turn things around, he stressed the need for the supporters to get behind them in a big way.
"We need a sparkle, we need to believe, we shouldn't give up," he said.
"I'm absolutely sure that we can make it, this group is strong and we just need to work and try without any fear. The results will come for sure!
"I'm asking all Sky Blues' supporters to give us a hand: we want to start winning again, as soon as possible!"
Sky Blues captain Terry McFlynn is the only player remaining at the club that has been there since the A-League's Season 1, and he said the team will bounce back like they have during similar periods of crisis over the last seven years.
"It's a difficult time but we have to remain as positive as possible," McFlynn told reporters on Tuesday.
"The older players and me as captain we have to set an example to the boys throughout this is the difficult time.
"We've talked about ways to get out of this, how to do things differently and do things collectively better and we're putting that in place.
"At end of day if you look at the game on performance, we deserved something out of the game on weekend.
"If we're looking at games thinking we didn't have any solutions then we'd be in trouble. We know what have to do better but we have to do it now."
Defender Pascal Bosschaart and striker Yairo Yau both sat out training on Tuesday but are expected to be available for Sunday's clash with Melbourne Heart.
Brett Emerton and Terry Antonis are both likely to be missing on Socceroos duty, with Jason Culina set to be handed a starting role after his successful comeback from a knee injury against Adelaide.