Ninkovic will start versus Glory - Arnold

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Sydney FC fans will have breathed a sigh of relief at the news their main creative midfielder is ready for the semi-final at Allianz Stadium

Ahead of Sydney FC's entry into the A-League finals, coach Graham Arnold has confirmed playmaker Milos Ninkovic will start against Perth Glory on Saturday night.

The midfielder has recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in Round 27 against Newcastle Jets after a crunching tackle from Ben Kantarovski.

But Arnold insisted there was never any doubt Ninkovic would play in the finals.

Sydney FC - Perth Glory Preview

"He's [Ninkovic] 100 per cent," Arnold told reporters on Thursday. 

"He trained individually at the end of last week and if we needed to push him to play last weekend he would have been fine. 

"He's trained all week with the group, did a physical session yesterday with 4 v 4s and he was like he normally is. 

"He's 100 per cent and will play."

Milos Ninkovic Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar A-League 30122016

Milos Ninkovic, Sydney FC

The Serbian midfielder has had a brilliant second season in the A-League and is the favourite for the Johnny Warren Medal as the competition's best player.

Ninkovic has led the Sky Blues for assists (10), chances created (43), successful dribbles (39), fouls won (57) and ball recoveries (191) in 2016-17.

Glory qualified for the semi-finals last week with a 2-0 win over Melbourne City inspired by their main man Diego Castro.

Diego Castro Melbourne City v Perth Glory A-League 23042017

Diego Castro, Perth Glory

The Spaniard scored Perth's opener at AAMI Park and set up the visitors' second goal for Joel Chianese as he moved to 13 goals and seven assists for the season.

But Arnold insisted the Sky Blues haven't put special plans in place to deal with 'El Maestro'.

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"Like all the good players across the A-League, if he's [Castro] given space and time, he's a very good player," the premiership-winning coach said.

"We'll have a plan not just for him, but the whole Perth Glory team – it's not a one-man show."

Arnold claimed Sydney are reinvigorated after their week off as they prepare for the most challenging part of the season. 

"Physically, we're in top shape – everyone is 100 per cent fit," he said.

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"The mental freshen-up has probably made them even more ready to go.

"I expect our best performance over the next ten days."

 

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