Heart draws on confidence for road trip


Few Hyundai A-League teams view a trip to Parramatta Stadium as undemanding, but Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi is adamant his side is prepared to end Western Sydney Wanderers’ run.

Few Hyundai A-League teams view a trip to Parramatta Stadium as undemanding, but Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi is adamant his side can end Western Sydney Wanderers- run in front of its Red and Black support.

Heart arrived in New South Wales this afternoon ahead of its Australia Day clash tomorrow, equipped with extra firepower in the form of rejuvenated midfielder Vince Grella, and a squad brimming with confidence after claiming three wins in four matches.

While Aloisi admitted his side had found form at home but has yet to find its feet on the road, tomorrow evening-s clash would be the perfect test to determine whether his side can change its fortunes away from AAMI Park.

Tony Popovic-s Wanderers have won six of its past eight matches, which has seen it consolidate fourth spot on the A-League ladder, and have become a formidable force in recent weeks.

However, Aloisi believes his side can draw on its recent confidence boost after collecting nine points in 2013.

“They-re a good side; they-ve proved to everyone they are well organised and they-ve been on a great run of late and that-s why they are sitting in fourth position,” Aloisi said.

“But we-re confident in the way we-ve been playing to in the last month so we-re looking forward to the game and it-s a good test for us.

“We haven-t won away from home since the beginning of the season against [Melbourne] Victory and we want to put that right.

“We believe that we are a side that can challenge [for finals] and it-s a test for the players and for us to get a good result in Sydney.”

With the inclusion of Grella, who is likely to feature off the bench, and with the potential scenario that recently-returned Eli Babalj may feature – pending international clearance – is news that perfectly complements Heart’s positive momentum on the pitch in recent weeks.

“I see that we-re getting better… We-re going to end the season strong,” Aloisi said.

“We-re quite happy with where we-re at.

“Vinnie will play a part in the game; he-s pulled up well from training; he-s looking fit.

“With Eli we-ll just have to wait and see how he feels after the long flight.

“He-ll fly to Sydney and we-ll make a decision in Sydney.”

While Fred is likely to be replaced by Nick Kalmar in midfield, Aloisi will wait to decide who will fill in for the suspended Aziz Behich in left back.

But there will also be eyes on the opposition.

“It-s our style of football and we won-t change the way we want to play, but you still have to look at [Shinji] Ono and [Mark] Bridge and see what movement they make and how they can cause problems and just make our players aware of that,” Aloisi said.

While Heart seeks a first away win of the season outside Victoria, Aloisi is not seeking redemption for his side-s 2-1 loss against the Wanderers earlier in the season.

“I wasn-t too upset about the way we played that night, especially the second half after their second goal we really took it to them and we scored soon after and we probably should have at least got a point out of that game,” Aloisi said.

“But it-s not about that game, it-s about this next game and we just want to keep on going.”

Saturday, January 26
Hyundai A-League Round 18
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Heart FC
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Kick off: 7:45pm
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant referee 2: Leigh Pigram
Fourth official: Stephen Lucas
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sports Highlights
ABC Radio Coverage – Updates Only
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvMH #AustraliaDay. Follow us here: @MelbourneHeart
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Ante Covic (GK), 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Adam D-Apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Dino Kresinger, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Joey Gibbs, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 15. Reece Caira, 16. Rocky Visconte, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 18. Iacopo La Rocca, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson (GK), 21. Shinji Ono, 23. Jason Trifiro *six to be omitted

Ins: 15. Reece Caira, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Joey Gibbs, 23. Jason Trifiro, 16. Rocky Visconte, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi (all promoted)
Outs: Nil
Unavailable: Tahj Minniecon (foot indefinite)

Melbourne Heart FC Squad: 1.Clint Bolton (GK), 4.Simon Colosimo, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic, 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonatan Germano, 15. David Williams, 17. Jason Hoffman,18. David Vrankovic, 19. Ben Garuccio, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. Steven Gray, 22. Nick Kalmar, 24. Sam Mitchinson, 25. Jeremy Walker, 31. Vince Grella, 36. Eli Babalj

Ins: 18. David Vrankovic, 19. Ben Garuccio, 21. Steven Gray, 24. Sam Mitchinson, 36. Eli Babalj (pending international clearance)
Outs: 5.Fred (quad – three weeks), 14. Golgol Mebrahtu (knee – two weeks), 16. Aziz Behich (suspended – one week), 9.Dylan Macallister (groin strain – two weeks)
Unavailable: 23.Mate Dugandzic (broken foot – season)