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Jan 14, 2006

Forward depth a problem for Sydney FC

Sydney FC's vaunted strike force is misfiring - and there's little coach Pierre Littbarski can do about it.

Despite sitting comfortably in second place three weeks out from the finals, Sydney has won just one of its past six A-League games.

Barring penalties, none of the team's current strikers has pocketed a goal in that time.

Joint leading scorer Sasho Petrovski, after a blistering start to the season which earned him a Socceroo call-up, has not added to his six A-League strikes in more than three months.

Fellow former Socceroo David Zdrilic, hampered by a lack of quality match time, has scored just once this season - seven rounds ago.

With former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke slotting back into the midfield - the same position he plays for World Cup-bound Trinidad and Tobago - Littbarski is desperately short of strike options following the departure of Japanese guest star Kazuyoshi Miura last month.

When asked following Saturday night's 1-1 draw with NSW rivals Central Coast at Aussie Stadium why he did not bring on a fresh forward midway through the second half, a bemused Littbarski replied: "I don't have anyone else.

"I have Dwight in the midfield, but that was the only option we had to bring him up front ... I'm not sure that would have made a difference.

"With 18 players you don't have many options."

The salary cap has denied Sydney from adding nippy striker John Buonavoglia to its forward battery this season.

While defender Mark Rudan has played in spurts up front, like Zdrilic, he is well short of match practice after a frustrating season on the bench and out of the squad.

It has been lately left to the club's midfield to provide the goals, most notably the ever-improving David Carney who claimed his sixth of the season with his second-half equaliser on Saturday night.

Yorke remains an option, but with midfielder Terry McFlynn rubbed out for the next two weeks after receiving his seventh yellow card of the season on Saturday night, Littbarski will not be keen to push his skipper forward against Queensland Roar next Saturday.

"I have to find not only the best striker, but other guys to deliver good crosses," Littbarski said.

"I think the two strikers went okay tonight, but didn't score.

"What Zdrila needs is a goal, Sasho as well, but especially Zdrilla because for a long time he was not a starting member."