Brisbane Roar are missing a host of key players for their trip west to face Perth Glory, but coach Mike Mulvey has backed the depth of his squad to cover the losses
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane Roar travel to Perth to face the Glory this Sunday missing several of their most experienced players, but coach Mike Mulvey says he expects their replacements to prove their worth.
The Roar will be without club captain Matt Smith, who is suffering from a hip injury, as well as Shane Stefanutto and Besart Berisha, who both picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season last Sunday against the Wanderers and will serve out one-match suspensions.
Brazilian playmaker Henrique remains absent, also with a hip injury, and new recruit Jade North is still not in optimum physical condition and will not travel with the side.
Mulvey said on Friday that the trip to Perth would be challenging with so many key players out, but others in the squad would step up in their absence.
"There's a lot of experience and quality there," Mulvey said of the unavailable players.
"In the A-League we have 23 players in a squad and people are waiting for their opportunities, so what you want to see is that when they get that opportunity they really take it. And I'm confident that they will.
"We saw a little glimpse last week, Corey [Brown] came on and acquitted himself quite well. It will be a test for him this week against Travis Dodd, but I'm willing to back him up."
In the absence of front man Berisha, Brisbane is likely to start the game with winger Ben Halloran taking on the role of striker.
"One thing Ben offers, he's got searing pace," Mulvey said.
"And it's not quite been happening for him in a wide area, so we might just deploy him as a central striker and we'll see what effect that has on the opposition.
"One thing we've worked on with him is the inter-changeability between any of the front four, but Ben will start there."
The Roar coach said every match for his side for the rest of the season would be important, though the Perth game didn't deserve to be touted as a 'do-or-die' clash.
"It's a really important game - it's our next game. All our games are important, this is Brisbane Roar we're talking about," Mulvey said.
"What I've seen on the training paddock again has backed up what I saw last week. Last week was the best week of training since I've arrived, and this week has been equally good.
"It's a really positive vibe around the place at the moment, and I'm hopeful that we're going to put on a performance that will bring home three points."