Two teams fairly out of form meet tonight in one of Week 18’s midweek fixtures of the 2010/11 A-League season.
The Fury have dropped their past two and won just one of their last eight, consigning them to the foot of the table, two points way from 10th-placed Perth Glory.
Sydney are not fairing much better although their situation is a lot better than it once was this season. They too have lost twice in a row but their form in the last few weeks has been acceptable after what was a disastrous beginning to their title defence.
Both sides need a win to keep their finals chances alive so we may see some attacking and free-flowing football in Townsville tonight.
Whether that equates to goals is yet to be seen as both the Fury and Sky Blues have struggled in front of goals this campaign but have been very considerate to their opponents down the other end.
Sydney probably hold the key slightly here with strikers Alex Brosque and Bruno Cazarine back to fitness but the Fury retain captain Ufuk Talay and striker Chris Payne who will both be keen to perform well against their former club.
Again a tough contest to decide on but I feel, at least, that the goals may come at Dairy Farmers.
Verdict: 2-2 draw
North Queensland Fury v Sydney FC
Date: Wednesday 15 December, 2010
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Local Kick-off: 8.00pm (9.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 5): North Queensland Fury wins 2, Sydney FC wins 2 (1 draw)
North Queensland Fury squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY, 17. Osama MALIK, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk) *two to be omitted*
In: Ufuk TALAY (back from 1 week suspension), Chris GROSSMAN (back from injury), Chris PAYNE (back from injury)
Out: Andre KILIAN (ankle – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: Eric AKOTO (knee – 2 weeks), Adam CASEY (ankle – 1 week), Andre KILIAN (ankle – 2 weeks), Isaka CERNAK (knee – 2 weeks), Matthew HAM (knee – out for the season)
Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Terry ANTONIS, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS
*two to be omitted*
Out: Hayden FOXE (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable: Nicky CARLE (Back – 2 Weeks), Rhyan GRANT (knee – 1 week)