Thijssen ponders defensive options

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March 03, 2015 12:17:57 UK

Brisbane Roar coach Frans Thijssen knows his side’s defence has to be rock-solid when they face Urawa Red Diamonds in their second Asian Champions League match on Wednesday.

The Roar are under pressure to avoid a second straight defeat to start their Group G campaign, ahead of two consecutive games against group leaders Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

They face last year’s J.League runners-up at Saitama Stadium needing to find the right balance in selection.

Fighting to make the Finals Series in the A-League, Brisbane can’t afford to ask their key players to play in too many of their ACL games so they will use a rotation policy.

Left-back Corey Brown, who was sent off in their draw against Perth Glory, will be suspended for Sunday’s A-League home game with Western Sydney so is likely to keep his place in Wednesday’s line-up.

The defence is set to see a reshuffle, though, with Shane Stefanutto tipped to return to the starting line-up after missing the trip to Perth.

Regular right-back Jerome Polenz was not in the party that travelled to Japan, and Jack Hingert is expected to fill that berth as he did in the opening ACL game with Beijing Guoan last week.

That defeat extended Brisbane’s run of winless games in the competition to eight, though the Diamonds also lost their opener as they went down 3-1 away to Suwon.

Thijssen is weighing up whether to bring Olyroo squad member James Donachie into the centre of defence or keep the pairing of Luke DeVere and Jade North that played against Beijing.

The Roar coach said: “They are all good strong, tall players who do a very good job for us. It’s a decision we will consider closely over the next 24 hours.

“But they all know each other’s games now. It is a good position to be in to have a number of combinations we could pick.”

Brisbane Roar are 6.00 to beat Urawa Red Diamonds, who are 1.57 with the draw 3.75.

North said: “All the defenders are good players who will do the job wherever they are selected, but we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We have to be aware of those each time the backline changes.”

Brisbane Roar are 11.00 to win the A-League Grand Final.

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