Competition for places keeping Roar players on their toes
FOOTBALL: Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi reckons his team is primed for a top A-League campaign after a good pre-season.
The Roar rounds off its friendlies with a clash against Perth Glory in Sydney tonight before taking on an NPL Queensland select team on Saturday.
Brisbane lost 2-0 to the Glory last month in the last 32 of the FFA Cup, but asked for an extra pre-season game after last weekend's clash with Central Coast was cancelled because of bad weather.
Aloisi said he was more than happy with how his players had performed in the pre-season and while he could not say which team was set to be the one to beat, he said his side had prepared well enough to be in with a shout.
"If you ask any A-League coach or player they would say their team could win the competition,” Aloisi said.
"It's hard to say as last season's competition was so close. I think everyone has added to their list and feel they have a good squad. I don't know who is going to be the benchmark. We hope we are.”
Aloisi has brought in his former Socceroos teammate Brett Holman and Danish international Thomas Kristensen to bolster the side, while Tommy Oar and Thomas Broich and keepers Jamie Young and Michael Theo will keep each other on their toes throughout the season.
"What I want is competition for places,” admitted Aloisi.
"It's good to have Tommy and Thomas pushing each other.
"In other positions, such as goalkeeper, we need competition.
"Luke DeVere is coming back (from injury), so we will have competition in the centre-back positions too.
"I feel that if you have got that, the training sessions become a bit more higher quality and higher in intensity because players know they need to train well to start on the weekend.”
Aloisi will have an almost full-strength squad to choose from against Perth, with only Holman, who is still getting up to full fitness, Oar (groin) and keeper Young (finger) not being considered.
Kristensen, the replacement for Spanish star Corona, will play some part after struggling with knee problems and Aloisi said the team was in much better shape than the same time last year.
"We've had a bit of turnover but the core group is still here,” Aloisi said.
"If I look back and see where we were last pre-season to where we are, we feel we're ahead.
"We've changed a little bit, the way we play, but not too much.
"I feel we're a lot more fluent than where we were this time last year when we've got the ball, and defensively we're ahead.
"It's nice to see the progression of the group.”
Brisbane was involved in a thriller in the semi-final last season, losing 5-4 away to Western Sydney Wanderers.
It begins its A-League campaign this season with a home game against Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium on October 7.