The reigning champs managed to arrest a five-match losing streak with a hardfought 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Monday, giving them hope heading into the business end of the season.
Sydney have had a tough time of their title defence but that performance showed there is still some fight in the old dog yet and they would like nothing more than to make life difficult for fourth-placed Gold Coast United.
The glitter strip club have dropped off in recent outings, going winless for their last three and losing their stranglehold on a top-three finish.
The return of vice-captain Michael Thwaite is sure to boost them at the back but the problem lies at the other end with just 27 goals scored in 21 matches which is not enough to win a title.
Without captain and creative midfielder Jason Culina, who is away with the Socceroos in Qatar, Gold Coast lack ideas going forward and must find some inspiration if they want to reclaim third spot.
The Sky Blues ended a five-match scoring drought against the Jets and will take plenty of confidence from that, especially after Finnish import Juho Makela got his first taste of A-League action and will be better for the run.
But just as Sydney did during the week against the Jets, who they have a great record over, Gold Coast have not yet lost to Sydney and with much more to play for, will extend their strong head-to-head record over the Sky Blues.
Verdict: Gold Coast 1-0
Sydney FC vs. Gold Coast United
Date: Saturday, 8 January 2010
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Local kick-off: 7:00pm
Referee: Chris Beath
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 5): Sydney FC wins 0, Gold Coast United wins 4 (1 draw)
Match fact: Having scored 198 goals in their 145 Hyundai A-League games to date, Sydney FC will be aiming to become just the second team to score 200 goals in the Hyundai A-League. Brisbane Roar – who play Friday – have scored 197 goals in 141 games. The only team to notch 200 goals so far, Melbourne Victory, scored their first 200 goals in 119 games.
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, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 17. Matt JURMAN, 18. Juho MAKELA, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23, Rhyan GRANT, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS *three to be omitted*
In: Kofi DANNING, Rhyan GRANT, Brendan GAN (all promoted)
Out: Hayden FOXE (groin – 3 weeks), Mark BRIDGE (stomach – 1 week)
Unavailable: Alex BROSQUE (groin – 2 weeks), Terry ANTONIS (knee – 3 weeks)
Gold Coast United squad: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 5.ROBSON, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 20.Scott HIGGINS [gk], 22.Adama TRAORE, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 24.John CURTIS, 25.Chris BROADFOOT, 27.Chris HAROLD *two to be omitted*
In: Michael THWAITE (return from suspension), Chris HAROLD (promoted)
Out: Steve PANTELIDIS (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: Jason CULINA (international duty – 4 weeks), Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury – indefinite), Matt OSMAN (knee injury – indefinite)