Steeled for Suncorp skirmish

Branko Culina believes that this Saturday night’s crucial Hyundai A-League round 23 encounter away to Brisbane Roar could be one of the toughest tests of the season for his side.

Branko Culina believes that this Saturday night-s crucial Hyundai A-League round 23 encounter away to Brisbane Roar could be one of the toughest tests of the season for his side.

The Jets have had a punishing start to 2010, playing at home to reigning champions Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon before heading to Queensland to play the high-flying Gold Coast United on Wednesday evening. Their third game in six days will be the Suncorp Stadium clash against the seventh-placed Roar in a match that could prove pivotal to the finals aspirations of both sides.

To counter this gruelling away stretch, Head Coach Culina is intent on bringing the focus home with full attention being paid to the preparations of his own team.

“The biggest danger is ourselves,” he explained. “If we play like we did on Wednesday it doesn-t matter what Brisbane put up it-s going to be a tough one for us.”

“I-m not even concerned about Brisbane, on their day they can be a very good side and they have some very good players, but again it-s more about us being up for the game that I-m concerned about.”

“We don-t have a lot of depth in our squad, we-ve only got a small squad so there-s not a great deal you can do other than make minor alterations, or the forced ones.”

“We-ve got a couple of possibilities but it will take more than that to get the players up for it because of the toll that the last couple of games have taken. It-s not that you can change six or seven players, if you do change, you change one or two.”

One likely modification to take place will be in goal as Neil Young suffered a broken nose in a collision with Shane Smeltz during the 2-0 loss to Gold Coast at Skilled Park on Wednesday.

Indeed, Culina says that returning to winning ways after that defeat will be a matter of maintaining mental discipline and keeping a level-head during Saturday evening-s battle.

“I always keep saying it-s one game at a time and you can-t get carried away.”

“You-ve got to be honest and say that against Melbourne we were outstanding and against Gold Coast we were very ordinary. That-s why you can-t get carried away.”

“We have to learn to tough it out even when we-ve not got things going for us, that-s the question mark to see how we bounce back,” Culina concluded.