No lead too big for Sydney FC ahead of ACL

Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson says no A-League lead would make him feel comfortable leading into the Asian Champions League.

ALEX WILKINSON of Sydney FC looks on during the A-League match between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium on in Gosford, Australia.
ALEX WILKINSON of Sydney FC looks on during the A-League match between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium on in Gosford, Australia. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images

Sydney FC are charging away at the top of the A-League ladder, but skipper Alex Wilkinson says no lead would allow the team to be comfortable heading into the Asian Champions League.

The Sky Blues have a 13-point lead on their nearest rivals and are due to start their ACL campaign against Ange Postecoglu's J-League champions Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan on February 19.

"I don't think we're ever comfortable. There's no way we're going to rest on our laurels and be complacent about that," he said on Thursday.

"There's going to be some travel coming up and this is when we're going to use the whole squad, and we've got great depth.

"Every single player is going to be used over the next month or two and it's a great opportunity for guys who haven't had a lot of game time."

Their first match of the tournament against Shanghai SIPG was scheduled for February 12 at Jubilee Stadium but was postponed until the end of the A-League season in response to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Should Sydney FC finish the A-League season in the top two as expected, they will play the re-arranged game against Shangai SIPG and be given an exemption from the first weekend of the finals three days later.

The Sky Blues have dealt with suspensions and injuries this season and been forced to cover for stars Rhyan Grant, Michael Zullo, Milos Ninkovic and Alex Baumjohann at various stages.

"We've had quite a few niggles this year and quite a few suspensions and guys who might not have been used or played so much have done brilliantly, it's like they've played 100 games," Wilkinson said.

"That's testament to the coaching staff and the recruitment that we did in the off-season that the squad is very strong.

"The younger guys are pushing the first 11 for more game time and they're going to see that in the next couple of months."


AAP