Sydney almost full strength for derby

A-League leaders Sydney FC have their strongest squad available for Saturday's derby with the Wanderers which will start a hectic period for the club.

MICHAEL ZULLO.
MICHAEL ZULLO. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica will have almost a full strength squad to choose from for the first time this season heading into Saturday's A-League derby.

The league leaders take on local rivals and eighth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night in the first of four games in under a fortnight.

Despite the absence of a crowd due to restrictions imposed because of coronavirus, both sides have plenty of motivation.

The Sky Blues need only eight points to clinch the Premiers Plate, while Wanderers want to keep their finals hopes alive.

Sydney welcome back Michael Zullo and Chirs Zuvela this week, and Ben Warland is back training, meaning young striker Luke Ivanovic (quadriceps) is their only injured player.

"We have seven games to go, but there's a period of four games in ten days so I think in that period there you'll see quite a bit of rotation of players," Corica told AAP.

"We'll try to keep a few players fresh for the next game.

"It's the right time time of the year getting all these players back."

Wanderers coach Jean-Paul de Marigny has urged his players to create history by completing the first ever season sweep of Sydney derbies by either club.

"If we do manage to win that's great for the club, for the fans, for everybody but it just won't be the same feel, I think personally," Wanderers defender Daniel Georgievski said.

"They will be watching from home, but I guess it won't be the same and we'll definitely feel it out on the pitch, because they are like our 12th man, especially playing at home."

Georgievski, who has missed the last two games after being sent off in the last Sydney derby, is one of several returning players set to bolster the Wanderers' team.

Defender Patrick Ziegler also returns from suspension, while Keanu Baccus, Bruce Kamau and Kwame Yeboah, are also available again, though influential Swiss midfielder Pirmin Schwegler is suspended.

With many other domestic competitions around the world shut down, there may be more overseas interest than usual in the A-League.

"It's a great opportunity for us to garner interest in the league, put on a great show and drum up even more fans for the clubs and the league itself with us being one of the few national leagues carrying on," Sydney's English striker Adam Le Fondre told AAP.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Wanderers will be aiming for back-to-back wins and consecutive clean sheets on home turf against the Sky Blues for the first time

* Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven A-League away games, winning six and drawing one

* Wanderers have the chance to become the first club to win all three Sydney A-League derbies in a season


AAP