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Mar 19, 2010

Sky Blues look set to stick with Ryall

Sydney FC look set to reward young defender Sebastian Ryall and start him against the club he won a championship with last year in this season's A-League grand final.

Ryall looks increasingly likely to keep his starting 11 place ahead of fit-again Socceroo Shannon Cole at right-back for the clash with Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.

Ryall is attempting to win back-to-back grand finals with different clubs after being part of the Victory's title-winning side in 2008-09.

Should the 20-year-old play and win, it would cap a remarkable end to a troubled first 12 months at Sydney FC.

He goes into the match awaiting trial on a charge of engaging in a sexual act with a 13-year-old girl, and missed the first part of the season through suspension.

Ryall has also battled a series of niggling injuries, and only won his way into the side for the major semi-final second leg when Cole tweaked a hamstring playing for the Socceroos three weeks ago.

Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka, who gave his side a light hitout in Melbourne on Friday afternoon, said he would not decide whether to start Ryall or Cole until match day.

"This is the last question mark regarding the starting line-up for tomorrow. We are yet to make a decision," Lavicka said.

"We have a training session this afternoon. We will discuss it after that and make a final decision."

Should Ryall keep his place, the only change to the starting side which controversially accounted for Wellington Phoenix in the preliminary final will be striker Chris Payne coming in for the injured John Aloisi.

The ex-Socceroo injured his hamstring last weekend, paving the way for Payne to come in and score twice, including a handballed second goal which effectively turned the course of the match.

But teammate Alex Brosque has backed Payne's big-match temperament and the Sky Blues' ability to cope with the loss of Aloisi and experienced skipper Steve Corica ahead of the final.

"Right around the squad we've got good cover to be able to replace those guys," Brosque said.

"They're big losses those guys, but you look at Payney last week. It's a big semi-final, we had to win, he came on and scored a double.

"He didn't look fazed, he didn't look worried at all. He's ready to step up."

Midfielder Terry McFlynn will captain Sydney FC in the experienced duo's absence.

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