Young Sydney FC attacker Mitch Mallia says his side will need to play a smarter brand of football to counter the bash-and-barge style of Perth Glory in their A-League clash on Sunday.
Still on a high after securing their first win of the season in the local derby last weekend, the Sky Blues are now re-focusing on the tough challenge of an in-form Glory outfit.
Ian Ferguson’s troops are renowned for their power and in-your-face approach led by skipper Jacob Burns and defensive lynchpins Steve Pantelidis and Bas Van Den Brink.
But rather than look to fight fire with fire, Mallia believes it’s his side’s football that will come to the fore if they are to prevail at ANZ Stadium.
“Playing different teams you have to counter their strengths,” Mallia said on Tuesday.
“We know Perth’s a physical side, so we’ll be looking to keep the ball on the ground and play around them more than looking for that physical confrontation.
“It’s a challenge that we’re looking forward to.
“They’re a very physical side but we’re going out there confident coming off a good win and knowing we can beat them.”
After getting a taste of first-team football towards the end of last season, Mallia has become a key member of Ian Crook’s side this season and has started all three games so far.
While more comfortable as a central striker, the 20-year-old has been relishing the chance to play in a wide role under Crook but know he needs to keep performing with the likes of Joel Chianese, Yairo Yau and Dimi Petratos pushing for selection.
“There’s so much competition for places but I really enjoy that because it brings out the best in players,” the former Central Coast attacker said.
“I know I need to lift my game to hold down that spot.
“It’s a striker’s job to score goals and that’s what I want to be doing.
“The most important thing though is the team is winning and if that’s happening then the goals will come I’m sure.”
With Sydney’s home ground of Allianz Stadium out of action as it gets re-surfaced, Sunday’s match will be the first time an A-League match will be played at the 82,000 seater Olympic venue.
“I went there last year for the NRL grand final and it was great to see that stadium,” Mallia said.
“I didn’t think we’d actually be playing there as I thought it was a rugby league ground and nothing else.
“To get a game out there is going to be great and being out on a pitch with so much history behind it…hopefully we can make our own history.”
Sky Blues defender Fabio, who was subbed out of the win over the Wanderers with a thigh strain, missed training in Tuesday but is still a chance to line up against the Glory.
Youngster Daniel Petkovski, who made his debut on the weekend, would be Fabio’s replacement if he fails to recover in time.
Dutchman Pascal Bosschaart trained strongly with the rest of the squad and is also likely to be available for selection.