Luke Wilkshire, Adrian Mierzejewski set to make Sydney FC debuts
Sydney FC will roll out key signings Luke Wilkshire and Adrian Mierzejewski in Tuesday's FFA Cup clash, with Graham Arnold keen to put A-League rivals on notice.
The Sky Blues lost just two games during their 2016-17 campaign that broke all manner of records and ended with both the A-League championship and premiership. The first defeat was in last year's FFA Cup final.
Sydney FC coach Arnold has spoken about his desire to capture that silverware, which his team will be one step closer to if they beat Bankstown Berries in the round of 16.
But Arnold is acutely aware his all-conquering side will also have a target on their backs in five and a half weeks, when the A-League season starts.
The mentor, still mulling his best line-up, is demanding his charges produce their best at Sydney United Sports Centre.
"To make a statement across the country of how good we are, and I expect us to do that," Arnold said.
"We expect to win. It's all based around attitude and performance, we have very high standards.
"I couldn't be happier with the way the pre-season is going. I always expect more and more out of the players, and we've talked about that."
Former Socceroos defender Wilkshire and Polish winger Mierzejewski will both make their club debuts on Tuesday night, having been unavailable for an 8-0 FFA Cup shellacking of Darwin Rovers earlier this month.
"Both are bringing a lot of experience and a hell of a lot of quality," Arnold said.
"We want to get minutes into their legs from the fitness side of it but also to gel within the team and make sure they know their roles."
The match will pit Arnold against the club that started his playing career, over 25 years ago when they were known as Canterbury-Marrickville.
"It's a club that has a special place in my heart," he said.
FFA Cup holders Melbourne City will also play in Sydney on Tuesday night -- they meet Hakoah FC at Leichhardt Oval.
Western Sydney Wanders tackle Bentleigh Greens for a place in the quarterfinals, while Blacktown City face Apia Leichhardt Tigers.