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Sydney FC take cautious approach with star

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Sydney FC take cautious approach with star

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Jack Rodwell’s Sydney FC return will be delayed until Sunday, with the former Everton and Manchester City star not having made the trip to Perth for the Sky Blues’ clash with the Glory on Wednesday night.

Rodwell, 33, has made just five appearances in an injury-marred A-League campaign.

With an eye on next month’s AFC under-23 Asian Cup, to which Sydney is set to lose at least three players to Olyroos duty, Sky Blues coach Ufuk Talay hopes to find the right balance in his use of Rodwell.

“Jack’s fully fit, and he’s trained well,” said Talay, who confirmed on Tuesday that Rodwell didn’t travel to Perth.

“The plan is to give Jack some minutes against Newcastle (on Sunday) because we’re maybe going to lose a couple of players to the Olyroos, and as quick as we can get him involved, the better it is for him and the team.”

The absence of Rodwell didn’t hurt Sydney last Saturday night, with Talay’s men having produced one of their best performances of the season in beating champions Central Coast 2-0 at Allianz Stadium.

The challenge is now for the fifth-placed Sky Blues to avoid a slip-up at HBF Park against a battling Glory side that usually lifts when playing at home.
“Perth’s still a good side. They’ve got some really good players,” Talay said.

“At home they do well, and when they’ve gone behind they’ve come back with the support of the crowd as well.

“We need to be wary of the opponent but the focus is on us, and how we want to do things, and what we want to do get the desired outcome.

“We want to push as far as we can go. We know everything’s in our hands.

“We just want to win as many games as we possibly can, and finish in the highest possible position to give ourselves the best chance when we get into finals football.”

Meanwhile, Sydney FC’s Academy team have been beaten in a penalty shootout by Everton in the final of the BV 04 Easter under-19 tournament in Germany.

On their way to the decider – which finished 0-0 before Everton won the shootout 3-1 – the Sydneysiders beat German teams Mainz (2-0) and Borussia Monchengladbach (3-2), Belgian club Royal Charleroi (4-1) and Danish outfit FC Nordsjaelland (2-1).

Coach Jimmy van Weeren said: “We have genuinely put Sydney FC on the map in Europe, not just because of the tournament results but because of the playing style and individual performances across the group.”

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