Sydney FC coach Steve Corica says managing his squad for the business end of the A-League and Asian Champions League is easy when you have players who all want to play.
While Siem De Jong and Anthony Caceres are rested for Saturday’s clash in nearby Newcastle, expect most of the Sky Blue big guns to keep playing as they chase an A-League Grand Final spot and qualification from the group stage of the Asian Champions League.
“We’ve got a lot of games coming up in this final month or so,” said Corica.
“We want to freshen up a few of the players and if they need rest they’ll have it, otherwise they’ll just keep playing.”
Top A-League teams have some of the most arduous travel in the world when they qualify for the Asian Champions League Group stage, which is played from February to May.
Corica’s men were in Shanghai midweek playing a 2-2 draw with Shanghai SIPG. That's a 10.5hr direct (longer if they had to make a stop).
And Corica's Sydney side have a trip to the Korea Republic on May 7 plus a home tie on May 22 as their ACL group campaign draws to a close.
Flights to Ulsan could take up to 14.5hrs.
On top of that, the A-League Finals Series in the same month.
By finishing second on the ladder, Sydney is set to play their Semi-Final on the weekend of May 10 and, potentially, a Grand Final a week later possibly in Perth (a five-hour flight from Sydney).
It's all about managing players day-by-day at this stage of the season, with the big games and travel.
Corica has been through this before as a Sydney FC player, having been part of the club's first ACL campaign in 2007 and their A-League Championship side of 2006.
The former Sydney FC Socceroo says the situation is under control. And he and his big-names prefer the busier schedule.
“We’re in a good situation. We have this game [in Newcastle] then the game in Ulsan [Korea Republic] so we can get momentum from that game, leading into the semi-finals.
“Some players need a rest. It was a busy week in China but they’ll be ready for the next game in Korea.”
So fans can expect big guns Adam Le Fondre and Milos Ninkovic to get a run in the NSW Derby on Saturday at McDonald Jones.
“Players they want to play, and the majority of them will still play tomorrow [Saturday]... I want to keep the team going," added Corica.