Brisbane Roar receive Bautheac boost
BRISBANE Roar have received a much-needed boost ahead of their daunting date with A-League juggernaut Sydney FC on Monday night, with French star Eric Bautheac set to return from injury.
Bautheac has not played since tearing his hamstring in the Roar's 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Cbus Super Stadium.
In the 30-year-old former Lille winger's absence, the Roar have lost three of their four matches and have lacked creativity.
While it's unlikely Bautheac will start on Monday, a second-half cameo is on the cards.
And in further good news for the depleted Roar, midfield enforcer Thomas Kristensen is set to play despite being forced off in Brisbane's 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers last Friday night with a tight hamstring.
The Roar's list of unavailable players remains extensive, with skipper Matt McKay and defender Avraam Papadopoulos (both suspended), utility Ivan Franjic (quad), playmaker Brett Holman (calf), centre-back Jade North (groin), midfielder Joe Caletti (foot), goalkeeper Michael Theo (finger), attacker Nick D'Agostino (ankle) and left back Connor O'Toole (concussion) all sidelined.
But the Roar won't be shown any mercy by a Sydney FC side sitting eight points clear at the top of the ladder.
The reigning champions were held to a 2-2 draw by second-placed Newcastle Jets last Wednesday night.
While describing the performance as being in Sydney "top two" displays this season, Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold said his side's "execution" was lacking.
Arnold expects the Sydneysiders to make amends on Monday night.
"The execution will be there (tonight)," the Sydney boss said.
"The boys are sharp and they're very focused ¬I can see it in their eyes.
"We expect to win (tonight) and we expect to win well."
The teams last met on November 25 at Allianz Stadium, with Sydney cruising to a 3-1 win.
Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young, whom could be in for a busy night, said playing Sydney was a "great opportunity" for the Roar.
"We've got to stick to the process," Young said.
"We're going to be up for the game no matter what."
Young has started in 10 successive matches in the ongoing absence of Theo and has made a strong case for retention even when the five-time A-League championship-winning gloveman is fit again.
"At the end of the day, that decision comes from the manager (coach John Aloisi)," Young said.
"Whenever I do play it's about doing as best as I can for the team."