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Jan 23, 2009

McMaster gets Roar nod over Reddy

The tag of Queensland Roar No.1 goalkeeper remains with Liam Reddy, according to coach Frank Farina.

But Griffin McMaster will still start for the A-League club in their crucial clash with Perth at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The third-placed Roar must beat Perth to have any chance of securing a top-two berth and a double chance in next month's finals series.

Reddy may be one of the biggest names in the Roar team but he has been relegated to a stint as the over-age player in the Youth League's Saturday clash before warming the bench in the crunch A-League showdown.

"Liam is still - in our eyes - first choice goalkeeper," Farina said.

"But when things are very important, as they are right now, and having (Reddy) not playing for three weeks and Griffin doing well - that's the decision."

McMaster has clearly impressed Farina since being called up almost a month ago when Reddy broke down with a hamstring injury.

"Griffin will play, he has been doing well," Farina said.

"Liam has had three weeks without football, he needs to get his touch back and we will see.

"That's my choice at the moment."

While McMaster committed a glaring error in the Roar's 4-3 win over Central Coast Mariners on January 10, Farina said the understudy had done enough to hold centre stage at the business end of the season.

"Griffin made a big mistake against Central Coast but most probably made up for it at the end of the game but in other games he has been solid," he said.

"And with all players - whether they are goalkeepers or not - you've got to be consistent with how you deal with them."

Farina said Reddy had been "a professional" when told about the selection call.

"He asked to play for 90 minutes (in the Youth League game) but we said no because it would be too short a turnaround for the first team," he said.

"He is keen to get back in and play, absolutely."

In other selection news, midfielder Massimo Murdocca (hamstring) has been cleared to start while the recovering Charlie Miller (hernia surgery) and exciting youngster Isaka Cernak have been named on the bench.

Cernak has fully recovered from back and knee injuries that have limited the Young Socceroos midfielder to Youth League football this season.

The Roar are still a premiership chance but need to beat Perth by at least two goals and hope both Melbourne and Adelaide fail to win their matches.

"Every game from now until we finish is virtually a grand final," Farina said.

"Ideally you want to score as many goals as you can. We can't really worry about other results.

"The important thing above all else is that we win and that's where the focus will be."

The squad will also be boosted by the return of Tahj Minniecon (hip) from injury.

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