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Apr 11, 2013

Wanderers to keep eye on Roar's Berisha

All eyes may be on Western Sydney as they attempt to secure an A-League grand final berth on Friday but Wanderers skipper Michael Beauchamp is setting his sights on Brisbane danger man Besart Berisha.

The Wanderers come into the semi-final clash at Parramatta Stadium as favourites, having secured the Premiers' Plate after a 12-game unbeaten run.

Defending champions Roar meanwhile have hit form at the right time with last Sunday's 2-1 away win over Adelaide their third in a row.

"They're coming into a bit of form," Beauchamp said on Thursday.

"But we're going to be no easybeats at our home ground.

"The end prize is a spot in the grand final so we won't be leaving anything on the pitch."

But while both sides agree all stats go out of the window when it comes to sudden-death finals football, Beauchamp concedes Berisha remains a constant threat.

The Albanian striker may not be as prolific as last season, when he became the league's all-time leading scorer netting a 21-goal haul, but he's no less dangerous in front of goal.

He also has a knack for drawing penalties, having scored four of his 14 goals this season from the spot.

So as for the best way to nullify Berisha's impact, Beauchamp says it's simple.

"Keep an eye on him at all times," he said on Thursday.

"He's a tricky customer that's for sure.

"But across the park they've got quality.

"So we can't just focus on one player but Berisha is definitely a threat."

Berisha's two late goals, including a controversial penalty in the final minute of injury time, handed Brisbane a 2-1 win over Perth in last year's grand final, securing back-to-back championships for the Roar.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey is certain Berisha will rise to the occasion again on Friday.

"He's got that big-match mentality and has been there and done it," Mulvey said.

"He lives for it and the most important thing I'll be telling my players tomorrow night is to be in the moment, live for the moment.

"If we do that as a complete 11 it should lead to a good performance."

Brisbane are still sweating on another key player however with German skipper Thomas Broich still battling a heel injury.

Mulvey says Broich is still in some pain but remains completely confident he'll recover in time.

"There's no question in my mind he'll be playing," Mulvey said.

"He's turned in this morning and the limp is noticeably better.

"What he's got is bruising and it's how he copes with that."

The Wanderers meanwhile had injury concerns of their own after Japanese star Shinji Ono (hamstring), fellow midfielder Aaron Mooy (knee) and defenders Jerome Polenz (quad) and Adam D'Apuzzo (foot) all missed the final game of the regular season.

Mooy trained with heavy strapping on his knee on Thursday but coach Tony Popovic is confident the week break has given them all enough time to be fit for Friday.

"They all trained the last two days and they all feel confident," he said.

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