Western United will be aiming for a third straight win in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men when it faces Brisbane Roar on Friday night.
Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 10
Western United vs Brisbane Roar
Friday, 30 December
Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Western United will welcome Leo Lacroix back into the side, with the Swiss defender named in the extended squad having completed his two-match suspension.
The No.4 comes straight into the 20-man list in place of Nikolai Topor-Stanley who drops out due to a suspension of his own.
Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachlan WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 27. Jacob TRATT, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk), 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC
Last time out
Western United secured a massive win last time out, defeating rivals Melbourne Victory 1-0 at AAMI Park on Boxing Day.
Despite playing over 60 minutes with 10 men, Josh Risdon’s late first-half header was enough to split the two teams and earn United an important three points.
Western United has a commanding head-to-head record over Brisbane Roar, with five wins to two across the seven previous meetings.
That includes wins in both encounters last season, the second of which came in thrilling fashion with United winning 3-2 after falling behind early in the match.
Key Matchup: Aleksandar Prijovic vs Tom Aldred
Western United will be coming up against the joint-best defence in the Isuzu UTE A-League, so Aleksandar Prijovic will need to be at his predatory best to breach the Brisbane goal.
Tom Aldred has been a mainstay for Warren Moon’s side, playing every minute for the Roar so far and leading the team at the back.
Prijovic scored the last time United faced Brisbane and will hope to come out on top in his individual battle with Aldred and help guide his team to another crucial win.
Player to Watch: Connor Pain
Connor Pain has taken a liking to scoring against Brisbane in the past, netting in two prior encounters with the Roar including last season’s 1-0 win in Round 4.
United’s No.11 returned to the starting XI against Victory and was in fine form against his old side, providing energy on both sides of the ball down the left-hand side.
Yet to find the net this season, Pain will be out to continue his record against Brisbane and bag his first of the season at AAMI Park.
Words from John Aloisi
On a shorter turnaround with two matches in five days
“We got used to it last year, so our preparation has been very good this week. We dealt with all the short turnarounds really well, whether we had to rotate players or whether the same players started.
“Physically we’ll be fine, and then whoever doesn’t start and comes in will give us good impact and good energy. You can make five subs now if needed, so it doesn’t really hurt you as much. The players love playing, so it’s actually nice for them.”
On the balance between senior players coming back and young players in good form
“I would love to have everyone fit all the time, but we know that’s not always going to be the case. If not, I actually think the boys that have come in have done really well.
“You talk about Milanovic, Bozinovski – they’ve come a long way since I’ve been here. They’ve improved a lot over the last year and that’s really positive. We’ve been able to throw in players and now know that they’re up to that level and have that real confidence.”