Roar Search For Five Straight On The Road

Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/perthnow.com.au
Glory striker Shane Smeltz will be a handful for Roar. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/perthnow.com.au

Brisbane Roar’s away record and the ability to bounce back after a loss are key reasons why the two-time champions remain four points clear of the pack with 13 weeks remaining until the finals. Though beaten 2-1 at home by Adelaide United last Saturday, Roar is gunning for a fifth consecutive victory on the road. It will have to do it without Ivan Franjic who hasn’t fully recovered from a stomach strain and a battered and bruised Thomas Broich after the Reds worked him over.

In the past month away from Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane has beaten both Adelaide and Wellington 2-1 , Sydney FC 5-2 and Melbourne Victory 3-0 QL_SS#1290905;130592#SS#. In fact, Roar has won 75 per cent of its road games this season, scoring at least one goal in 88 per cent of those encounters. Brisbane’s ability to bounce back after defeat has been impressive. Mike Mulvey’s boys haven’t suffered consecutive losses this campaign. After its initial defeat in round three, Roar crushed Heart 3-0 the following weekend. Then after going down to the Jets, Brisbane thumped the Wanderers 3-1 and that was the start of a four-game winning streak. Another loss to Newcastle could’ve derailed the campaign, but instead ‘Mulvey’s men’ roared back by humbling Sydney FC 5-2.

But Perth at nib Stadium is no pushover. This season 74 per cent of Glory’s competition points (19) have been earned at home, where the men from the west have scored most of their goals. Perth’s star striker Shane Smeltz looms as a danger for the Brisbane's defence. Coming off the bench last weekend, the A-League’s all-time leading goal-scorer found the net twice in Glory’s 3-0 win over Heart to take his tally to 75 from 127 appearances. The homeside also welcomes back high-profile marquee man William Gallas from injury.

The Frenchman and his fellow defenders will have their hands full minimising Besart Berisha’s handy returns. Back from a hip injury, the Albanian international came on as a second half sub against Adelaide last weekend to score his sixth goal in just eight appearances this season. The 28-year-old has now netted 43 times in 71 outings in all competitions for Brisbane. Targeted as a marquee player by Sydney FC and Newcastle, Berisha is likely to announce his playing future shortly. It’s believed his preference is to return to Europe to be closer to family, but big dollars might just lure him to another A-League club. If he does leave Brisbane, Friday night’s opposite, Smeltz, would be high on Roar’s shopping list.

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