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Feb 8, 2013

Roar bracing for great A-League challenge

Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey says the Roar face a great challenge with three games in eight days, but insists they only have eyes on Sunday's A-League clash away to Sydney.

The two teams entered the round even on points with Melbourne Heart in the battle for sixth spot, with Brisbane heading the trio on goal difference.

"They are all six-pointers when you are playing against teams around you on the ladder," Sydney coach Frank Farina said.

"The top four teams are there, they will be in the top six, so there's another six of us battling out for the next two spots."

Brisbane have an Asian Champions League qualifier in Thailand on Wednesday and host Wellington the following Sunday.

"The next game is the most important one, it's really important that we play well against Sydney," Mulvey said

"We're not in a position where we can rest players and say lets bounce back on Wednesday and take that game more seriously.

"That's not in my DNA and that's certainly not in the players' DNA.

"Every player here wants to play in all three games, that won't be possible.

"It's a great challenge for us and it's one I'm looking forward to and it's all eyes on Sydney to start with."

Mulvey said he would decide on Sunday whether Dutch import striker Stef Nijland would start the game after making his Roar debut off the bench last week.

Sydney will have Brett Emerton back, but it appears fellow veteran Jason Culina will miss out on the starting side after reportedly rowing with Farina on Friday.

While Mulvey says Sunday's game is not do or die for his team, his sentiments aren't shared by Sydney.

"It's pretty much do or die now," Sydney forward Blake Powell told AAP.

"We go into these next two games (against Brisbane and Adelaide) pretty confident because we are at home, we've got all the fans behind us and we've been performing pretty well."

Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero needs one goal to set an all-time season scoring record for a Sydney player.

Del Piero was wary of Brisbane despite their inconsistent form this season.

"I think it will be a very hard game for us because they play good, they play together. They have good individual players," Del Piero said.

"They are up and down, but they have all the qualities to win the game."

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