Sky Blues morale still high: Bridge

January 16, 2012
By Angela Habashy

Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge says morale is still high in the Sky Blues camp despite a string of four straight A-League losses.

Sydney are preparing for their rescheduled community-round clash with Perth at Campbelltown Stadium on Wednesday where local hero, Socceroo Brett Emerton, returns to where it all began for what is shaping up as a season-defining match.

Looking to snatch a top-two spot only a fortnight ago, the Sky Blues have slipped to seventh on the ladder after four losses in a row.

Adding insult to injury, Sydney's last defeat at the hands of Brisbane on Saturday was devastating.

After leading 1-0 until the 92nd minute, the Roar staged a miraculous late comeback to beat Sydney 2-1 in injury time.

But Bridge says the defeats have not shaken the team's spirit.

"Over the last month, people have been asking about our mentality and how our morale's going and I think it's still high," Bridge said.

"We've shown we can compete with the best and play well.

"For 92 minutes against Brisbane, we played extremely well. We were extremely disciplined.

"So it's all good signs leading into the tail end of the season."

The Perth clash will kick off a hectic schedule for Sydney that has them playing three games in eight days.

With only five points separating seventh to last spot, all teams are jostling for a top-six spot as the finals series approaches.

Sydney have not had the best form at home, having only won twice in seven attempts, and Bridge knows picking up the three points in their next two home clashes is crucial.

"Four losses in a row is big, so to have gotten three points in Brisbane would have helped tremendously," Bridge said.

"I think six points from the next two games will be massive and it will put us right back in the mix."

Perth will be boosted by their recent form, stretching their unbeaten run to four matches with two away wins against Wellington and Melbourne Heart to climb to fifth on the ladder.

The last time the two teams met in round six, Bridge scored the lone goal to win the match for Sydney and he's looking to do the same on Wednesday.

"I love scoring against (Perth 'keeper Danny) Vukovic. I don't really like the guy to be honest," Bridge said jokingly.

"But Perth is a good team - they're a very physical team.

"He's (Perth coach Ian Ferguson) got them playing well at the moment - two wins from two very tough trips.

"They've also jumped up the ladder, so we need to win."

Sydney will be without Dutch import Pascal Bosschaart who is serving a one-match suspension, with Sebastian Ryall likely to fill his spot in defence.