Sydney FC star Luke Brattan fears the absence of the club’s active supporter group from Saturday night’s finals derby could hurt the Sky Blues’ chances of winning “the biggest game of our lives”.
“The Cove” will snub their team’s do-or-die A-League battle against the Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium as part of a finals series boycott due to “broken promises” stemming from the Australian Professional Leagues decision to sell grand final rights to the NSW government.
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“When you look up and see the fans, it’s a boost,” Brattan said on Thursday.
“It’s not ideal not having them there. It’s the stuff that gets you over the line when the game is hard and you’re running your arse off for 90-plus minutes.
“It’s the biggest game of our lives … we need to win this game for the club to get to where we belong.”
Sky Blues coach Steve Corica was “disappointed” by The Cove’s boycott.
“We would love for them to come and get behind the team,” Corica said.
“It’s obviously tough. We’re a little bit disappointed that they’re not coming.
“They are like our 12th man and we need them there to support the boys.”
Brattan vowed the Sky Blues wouldn’t use The Cove’s absence as an excuse if his side lost to the Wanderers.
“There are no more excuses,” the experienced midfielder said.
“We’re in a good place. We haven’t really had out strongest eleven on the pitch for periods of time which hurt us a little, but finals are one-off games.
“We need to defend for our lives and attack the way we can, with the freedom and quality that we have.
“I’ve played in some pretty big games and this has the feeling to be one of the biggest.
“This is the first time we’ve met in finals so it’s going to be great for football in Australia.”
The Sky Blues are sweating on the fitness of English winger Joe Lolley, who injured his hamstring in his side’s 2-0 home win over Newcastle last Saturday.
Corica said Lolley was “doing everything” he could to be fit for the match.
“Joe still has a chance to be involved in the game and he has two days of training to get through, but he is coming along nicely and he is a real threat for us,” the Sky Blues coach said.
“Everyone else is good and raring to go. The pressure is always on in (the derby) and to have it in the finals, it is going to be exciting.”