Mike Mulvey is aware of the importance of a win for Brisbane Roar over the Newcastle Jets on Friday, while he has praised the potential of newly re-signed midfielder Luke Brattan
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey has refused to label Friday's encounter with Newcastle Jets as 'do-or-die', but says the match will be crucial to his team's self-belief.
Newcastle and Brisbane are in direct competition for a finals berth, with the Jets [26 points] sitting in sixth place on the table, and the Roar [24 points] just under them in seventh.
At a press conference on Thursday at which a contract extension was also announced for promising midfielder Luke Brattan, Mulvey told reporters his side were still recovering from a difficult week in which they played two A-League games and an Asian Champions League qualifier against Buriram in Thailand.
Ivan Franjic looks to have recovered from a concussion he received against Buriram, while Henrique has recovered from a hip injury and will also be available for selection, according to the Roar coach.
"I think that we've got a very good spirit amongst the boys, and that tough week away helped cement that," Mulvey said.
"When you've got your backs to the wall, as we did after a couple of losses, one of them being in the ACL, you need to turn it around, you need to show you've got that passion and you've got that ability to bounce back.
Brisbane put losses to Sydney FC and Buriram behind them to defeat Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
"We did bounce back last week and what we want to do now is we want to get on a run," Mulvey said.
"We want to actually go and win in Newcastle and that will give us some more self belief, which would be great."
With six matches to go before the finals, the Roar coach denied desperation was required from both teams involved in Friday's match.
"I don't think desperation is the right word," he said.
"But you need to recognise that there's a game to be played and you don't get carried away with the occasion or the possible outcomes.
"… So we're going to go out with a very positive attitude. We're going to have a real good go."
Deep-lying midfielder Brattan, a player who has gone from the Roar reserves to a vital component of the first team, said he was thrilled at being awarded a contract extension at the club.
Brattan, who has been with the Roar since 2008 but has only managed 31 senior games, this has signed on for a further two years with the A-League champions.
He has featured nine times for Brisbane this campaign, and has become a crucial part of the midfield, especially since the departure of Erik Paartalu.
"I hadn't played for a while and now I'm starting to get game time and to re-sign at this club is a great honour for me, because it's my first professional club and I love the club to death," Brattan said.
The 22-year-old said his general fitness is improving, though he still has work to do to improve that and other aspects of his game.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey also spoke of Brattan's potential to improve substantially.
"Luke has stood in the shadows for the last three years and it's his time to stand up now," Mulvey said.
"And I think that he's actually underdone, for what is required at this level, in terms of match practice and general fitness levels, simply because he's missed a lot because of injury.
"But I think in 12 months time you'll see he'll be one of the key midfield players in the league."