Brisbane near best as title looms

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Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey believes his side is nearing top form as they close in on a second A-League premiership.

The league-leaders suffered back-to-back losses in February but consecutive wins, including last week’s 2-1 win over Adelaide United, have them within reach of the premier’s plate.

“I think it’s fair to say we lost our bounce a little bit, there’s no doubt about that,” Mulvey said of the mini-slump.

“We weren’t at our best vintage [against Adelaide] but we were getting something close to it.

“The important thing is we beat a very good team and I was very pleased about that.”

Victory over Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night and a later Western Sydney loss would seal the title for his side, but Mulvey is concerned only with crippling the hosts’ form.

“We’ve got a good record against them this season but I’m pretty wary of them at the moment because they’ve tightened up a little at the back,” he said.

“Sydney are on a bit of a high. They just had a very good win last week at home.

“Thankfully we’re on a bit of a run ourselves so it should be a very good contest.”

While Sydney’s defence has improved to concede just three times in four matches, Alessandro Del Piero’s record of five goals in as many matches against Roar will have the visitors on alert.

“Alessandro Del Piero is and has been a magician for many, many years but we’ve got some good players as well,” Mulvey said.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge and it’s always a joy to be involved in a game where he’s involved.

“I’m sure Sydney fans turn up in their droves to watch him play but I’m hoping we don’t turn up to watch him play tomorrow night.”

A swollen ankle has ruled Ivan Franjic out of Friday’s match but that failed to dampen Mulvey’s delight with Thursday’s morning short, sharp training session.

“There was a lot of quality on show,” he said.

“We got a bit of movement back into our stride, we’re finding the right pass, we’ve got the right weight on the ball.

“We deserve to be where we are but we know you don’t get given anything in this league or in football in general.”

Matt Dorman

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