Sydney FC coach Frank Farina insists the focus surrounding skipper Alessandro Del Piero’s fitness is not a distraction.
Skipper Alessandro Del Piero is still in doubt for Sydney FC’s Boxing Day clash with Brisbane but coach Frank Farina insists the constant focus on the Italian’s fitness has not been a distraction for his A-League side.
Del Piero and fellow veteran Brett Emerton both missed the Sky Blues’ 1-0 loss away to Wellington on Sunday.
Del Piero has been battling back and hamstring issues in recent weeks, while Emerton has been fighting a back problem and muscle tightness since the start of the year.
The team arrived from Wellington on Monday night and both marquees trained with the squad on Tuesday.
Farina says he’ll make his call on both Del Piero and Emerton’s availability after their final training session on Christmas day.
“We’ll see in the next two days, and we’ll make a decision most probably tomorrow as to whether they’ll be available,” he said.
“If they’re not ready tomorrow, I don’t think 24 hours will make a big difference but I’m quietly confident that they’ll both be fit.”
Del Piero has now missed his third game this season and hasn’t managed to last the full 90 minutes on three occasions this campaign, with the 39-year-old averaging just 62 minutes in his eight games.
Emerton, on the other hand, has played just six matches.
But Farina insists the intense focus on the captain’s fitness and the uncertainty surrounding his availability has not affected the club.
“No, it’s not frustrating. It’s not a distraction. It’s football,” he said.
“It’s life at football clubs and we’re not the only ones that go through it.”
The Sky Blues face the top-placed Roar at Allianz Stadium with both sides coming off losses.
The Roar were upset 2-0 by Newcastle on Friday.
With a win lifting Sydney to third spot, Farina is hoping Sky Blues fans can fill the stands.
“It’s boxing day, we’re playing a very good side so hopefully they get out in numbers and support the team and hopefully we can deliver what they want.”