Football 12 months ago

Perform and you play, Arnie tells marquees

  • Perform and you play, Arnie tells marquees

    Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold (L) speaks during a press conference with Brazilian goalscorer Deyvison Rogerio da Silva at Allianz Stadium on in Sydney August 22, 2016. Deyvison Rogerio da Silva, nicknamed Bobo, has signed for Sydney FC for the new Australian A-League season. / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has declined to confirm marquees Bobo and Filip Holosko will play FFA Cup final conquerors Melbourne City, instead appearing to issue the pair a challenge to lift their game.

Both were conspicuous absentees from the Sky Blues' starting line-up that beat Newcastle 2-0 in their A-League clash on Sunday, with Bobo introduced off the bench for 20 minutes and Holosko not in the match-day squad at all.

The Slovak winger and Brazilian striker have recently struggled to emulate their scintillating early-season form.

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They were mostly ineffective in Wednesday's FFA Cup final loss to City and the A-League draw against Adelaide the previous weekend.

Arnold said Holosko had been suffering knee tightness in recent weeks and saw the Jets match as an opportune time to freshen him up.

Yet the coach stopped short of saying he and Bobo would take part in the one-versus-two clash at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

"I'll decide that on Thursday," Arnold said.

"What I want is performance, and for me the scales of whether you play or not is (based) on performance.

"Whoever performs and plays well, plays.

"We've got plenty good players - Brosque played at No.9 (against Newcastle), (David) Carney can play left or right, (Milos) Ninkovic can play anywhere in the front line nearly, and now Bernie (Ibini).

"So Filip and Bobo are just like normal players - perform and they play."

Arnold made a season-high four changes to his starting XI, starting Carney and youngster George Blackwood up front alongside skipper Alex Brosque, and replacing Brandon O'Neill and Matt Jurman with Milos Dimitrijevic and Seb Ryall.

Superb second-half goals from star Serbian Milos Ninkovic and returning winger Bernie Ibini made up for a tedious first half and ensured unbeaten Sydney are six points clear at the top of the table one-third of the way through their campaign.

Yet the squad still lacked the cutting edge in front of goal that's been missing since round six, an ingredient they will sorely need against a stacked City attack that got the better of them at AAMI Park.

"The most important thing for me is to recover and get the boys fresh again," Arnold said.

"They've had three games in a week including two lots of travel."

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