Coach denies Sydney FC are undisciplined
Sydney FC coach Terry Butcher denies his side has a discipline problem despite the reigning A-League champions leading the competition in bookings.
For the sixth time this season, Butcher will have to re-shuffle his line-up because of suspension as they go into the first leg of the elimination semi-final against Newcastle on Friday.
In-form midfielder Ufuk Talay will miss the Aussie Stadium showdown after his red card against Queensland last week.
Talay departs just as Mark Milligan returns after serving a one-match ban. Before Milligan, skipper Mark Rudan served a two-match ban for his second red card of the season.
Sydney players have received more yellow (43) and red cards (five) than any other club this season.
Fellow finalists Newcastle and minor premiers Melbourne Victory have both received 36 yellows and four reds, while players from second-placed Adelaide have been branded with 39 yellows amongst two send offs.
Butcher, though, believes it is more a case of over-enthusiasm than a lack of discipline from his players.
"I don't think that there's anything wrong with our discipline, I think the players are very keen to win," Butcher said.
"Sometimes, perhaps, they're over-competitive. Sometimes they go in for challenges they probably shouldn't... but to me it shows they want to win."
As well as Talay, Sydney appear almost certain to again be without defender Alvin Ceccoli with the left back still struggling with a foot injury.
"He's not training today, he's struggling a little bit and walking with a bit of pain, so he's looking very doubtful for the game," Butcher said.
"We're optimistic for next week. Sometimes you've got to look at the injury and what the doctors and physios are saying.
"Sometimes missing one match is beneficial if he was to play in the next three. And that's what we're looking at, to play three matches after this one (to the grand final)."