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Mar, 14, 2012

Finals spot at stake for Sydney FC

Two games to go and the equation is simple for Sydney FC: lose against Melbourne Heart on Saturday and their A-League finals hopes are over.

A string of good performances recently has kept seventh-placed Sydney very much in contention, just one point behind the Heart (fifth) and Newcastle (sixth) on the ladder.

With all three teams in action on Saturday the Sky Blues' AAMI Park match becomes even more interesting.

The Jets host Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium immediately before Sydney take on the Heart, so both teams will know exactly what is required to ensure they remain a chance in the finals race.

Should Newcastle beat the Roar, Sydney will have to do something they have never done before to stay alive - defeat Melbourne Heart.

But marquee man Nicky Carle feels a win is not too big an ask, especially on the back of the confidence boost provided by beating Melbourne Victory for the first time this season last week.

"No (it's not impossible); not at all," Carle said ahead of training on Thursday.

"We hadn't beaten Melbourne Victory this season either and we beat them when we needed to.

"So we don't really look too much into stats, we just take every game as it is.

"We're playing some really good football, so there's plenty of confidence."

If Brisbane beat or draw with Newcastle, it will all come down to the final game for Sydney - regardless of their result against the Heart - against Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on March 25.

"These are definitely the games as players you want to be playing in and I feel our form has been excellent in the past five weeks," Carle said.

"I thought the Victory game was one of our best performances. We knew how big that game was - it was a must-win game.

"And I think we've shown all season when it's been a must win-game we've come up trumps."

The last time the two teams clashed in December, the Heart dismantled Sydney to beat them 4-0 and inflict on the Sky Blues their biggest home defeat.

But while coach Vitezslav Lavicka doesn't want to be reminded of that embarrassing loss, he is confident his charges can turn things around against an equally desperate Heart side.

"Don't remind me please," said Lavicka.

"Last time we played we were destroyed by them, but every game is different and we all have the belief we can do it.

"We all know our current situation ... but they need to pick up the points as well.

"So it's going to be a very exciting game for both sides."

Midfielder Karol Kisel is the only unavailable player for the Sky Blues, with the Slovak import's one-match ban meaning his spot is likely to be filled by in-form youngster Terry Antonis or Hirofumi Moriyasu.

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