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A-League 2013-14 club preview: Brisbane Roar

Goal Australia brings you expert analysis of each club's situation as they prepare for the new campaign, including player movement, expectations and worst-case scenarios

Club

Brisbane Roar

Last Season

Fifth

Coach

Mike Mulvey

Captain

Matt Smith

Players in

Diogo Ferreira [Melbourne Victory], Matt McKay [Changchun Yatai], Liam Miller [Perth Glory], Dimitri Petratos [Kelantan]

Players out

Ben Halloran [Fortuna Dusseldorf], Matt Jurman [Sydney FC], Steven Lustica [Hajduk Split, loan ended], James Meyer [released], Massimo Murdocca [Melbourne Heart], Mitch Nichols [Melbourne Victory], Stefan Nijland [PEC Zwolle, loan ended]

Expectations

Brisbane fans are craving a return to the Roar's glory days when they were the envy of the competition, securing the premiership off the back of a 36-game unbeaten run and retaining it a season later.

An underwhelming campaign last year, despite still making the finals, indicated that the Roar had lost the spark which previously made them the best team in the competition.

The promotion of a number of youth players to the senior squad suggests that Mulvey is constructing a side for the future, while bringing back crowd favourite and former captain Matt McKay will give Roar fans something to smile about.

Thomas Broich will need to step up, after making his name as one of the best attacking players in the league when Brisbane were flying, he mirrored his side's form last season, producing some at times questionable performances.

Along with Broich, the key man is still Besart Berisha, who will again shoulder the burden of leading Brisbane's frontline.

With the hit-and-miss Henrique the only experienced back-up for the Albanian, the Roar need to ensure Berisha is firing for the season.

With good depth in midfield and defence, it is up front where the Roar will need to produce to get back to the high standard of play which they set as a benchmark for the competition two seasons ago.

What has to go right

The forward line needs to click with the midfield. With only two strikers over the age of 21, the Roar's forward stocks are very limited. If Berisha is supplied well by the likes of Broich, McKay and Miller, then Brisbane can and will trouble most teams.

Worst-case scenario

Berisha suffers a long-term injury. If this were to happen it would spell disaster for the Roar. Without their key forward they could find it very hard to hold the ball in the final third, let alone score goals, although youngsters Kwame Yeboah and Dimitri Petratos could yet surprise us.

Nightmare headline

"FK Tirana swoop to lure Berisha home"

We think

Mulvey has built a squad with a good mix of youth and experience and will be pushing for a finals berth this season. However, to truly excel it is the Roar's old heads that will need to fire. If Berisha and Broich aren't fit and in form then Brisbane's title aspirations will suffer.

Prediction

Sixth [writer's prediction]

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