ALM Match Preview: Koutroumbis relishing Sydney challenge

Glory defender Johnny Koutroumbis is relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with Sydney FC’s dangermen in Saturday’s Isuzu UTE A-League Round 6 showdown with the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium (kick-off at 4.45pm WST).

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

Wingers Robert Mak and Joe Lolley provide much of the New South Wales side’s attacking threat, with the former having already scored two goals and claimed the same number of assists this season.

But an unintimidated Koutroumbis is looking forward to taking them on.

“I don’t shy away from any challenge,” he said.

“As a right-back, or even as a centre-back, throughout my half-career, I’ve come up against multiple calibre of players and I actually enjoy the challenge.

“I do a bit of research throughout the week and see their strengths and weaknesses and from what I learn, I try and apply that to the best of my ability on gameday; so I’m very excited.”

The former Newcastle Jets man went on to assert that he is expecting a high-octane clash this weekend as both sides look to bounce back from defeats last time out.

“I think it’s going to be high-tempo, attacking football right from the start,” he said.

“We’re not going to lay off just because they’re Sydney FC.

“We’ve got high-calibre players up front… in midfield and in defence.

“We’re going to have to limit their attacks and they’re going to have to limit ours and I think it’ll be a very good spectacle from a neutral’s standpoint and for [fans of] both teams.”

Head Coach Alen Stajcic, meanwhile, is also expecting an end-to-end battle to unfold at Allianz Stadium.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“Sydney, as we know, are an excellent attacking team,” he said.

“They’ve got weapons out wide on both sides; a Slovakian international in Robbie Mak and Joe Lolley, who are both exceptionally gifted and they have a reliable midfield pairing who help the attack.

“So they’re definitely still one of the favourites in the competition for me, despite how they’ve started the year.”

While acknowledging Sydney’s pedigree, however, Stajcic also feels his own side can make a major impact this season.

“For me [Brisbane] was our poorest game this year, but in the other four games, I generally feel we’ve had enough key actions to be higher up the field,” he said.

“The consequence of that is that sometimes you’ve got to pick up your confidence and your belief in your processes and that’s something that we have to maintain.

“But certainly I’ve got a lot of confidence that we can be up there in the top few teams this year by the end of the season.”

In terms of early team news, no fresh injury concerns emerged from the Roar game and winger Bruce Kamau could return to the squad having recovered from his hamstring strain.

Glory will be looking to secure a sixth overall away win over the Sky Blues, having most recently claimed maximum points in this fixture in January 2022.

Now under the charge of Ufuk Talay, the hosts have endured four defeats to nil thus far this term, but also secured a stunning 5-1 away win over Adelaide United in Round 4.

Stats-wise, among their top performers have been forward Fabio Gomes, who leads the league for aerial duels both contested and won and midfielder Jake Girdwood-Reich, who has made a league-high 13 interceptions.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League 2023/24 Season Round 6

Sydney FC v Perth Glory

Allianz Stadium

Saturday 2 December 2023

Kick-off: 4.45pm WST (7.45pm Local)

Sydney FC Squad:- 1.  Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Aaron GURD, 4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 8.  Jake GIRDWOOD-REICH, 9. Fabio GOMES, 10. Joe LOLLEY, 11. Robert MAK, 12. Corey HOLLMAN, 13. Pat WOOD, 15. Gabriel LACERDA, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES, 18. Matthew SCARCELLA, 19. Mitch GLASSON, 20. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 21. Zac DE JESUS, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. Wataru KAMIJO, 26. Luke BRATTAN (C), 29. Joe LACEY

(Two to be omitted)

In: 3. Aaron GURD (promoted), 24. Wataru KAMIJO (promoted), 29. Joe LACEY (promoted)

Out: 25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI (injured)

Unavailable: 6. Jack RODWELL (injured), 22. Max BURGESS (injured), 28. Nathan AMANATIDIS (injured)

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Oli SAIL (GK), 2.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-captain), 6.Aaron MCENEFF, 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 10.Salim KHELIFI, 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 13.Cameron COOK (GK), 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19.Trent OSTLER, 20.Giordano COLLI, 22.Adam TAGGART (co-captain), 23.Daniel BENNIE, 24.Oliver BOZANIC, 27.Jayden GORMAN, 28.Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 77.Bruce KAMAU

(one to be omitted)

In: 77.Bruce KAMAU

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 9.David WILLIAMS (injured), 11.Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 14.Riley WARLAND (injured)