Cavalry returns as Sydney FC plot Big Blue upset in ALM

The cavalry is on the way for Sydney FC, leaving coach Ufuk Talay to weigh up welcome selection headaches across the pitch ahead of their Melbourne Victory meeting.

The return of defender Jack Rodwell, attacking midfielder Max Burgess and forward Jaiden Kucharski means Talay will be able to field his strongest side yet for Saturday's A-League Men trip to AAMI Park.

Only young midfielder Wataru Kamijo (back) and Socceroos goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne (suspension) will be left out of selection for the latest Big Blue clash.

Rodwell has missed the opening seven matches of the campaign with a hamstring injury, while Burgess has been out of action since round two with a groin strain sustained in Sydney’s season opener against the Victory.

Kucharski has been a revelation in attack for the Sky Blues, notching a brace and an assist in their 5-1 clobbering of Adelaide United in round four, before being sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring issue of his own the following round.

Jaiden Kucharski.
Sydney FC's Jaiden Kucharski celebrates one of his goals against Adelaide United.

Still, Talay expects his returning players to put in a fight for a spot in his best 11.

"The young players that have come through and stepped up have done a great job and if you know me quite well, I'm very fair with my players," Talay said on Thursday.

"If you do a job on game day, you get the opportunity to play in the next game.

"When we say full strength, those (returning) players are still limited in what they can do within the game.

"Having players back creates competition within training and this week's been good so far.

"It's a good place to be in."

Restricting prolific goalscorer Bruno Fornaroli will be at the top of Talay's agenda in Melbourne.

The Victory striker has scored 11 goals in just seven games - including one in the 2-0 win in round one - to keep his side in the league's top four.

While academy product Jake Girdwood-Reich may make way for Rodwell's return, the 19-year-old also believes there's a spot for him next to his experienced teammate.

"I don't really go in with nerves. I see it as more as excitement, to test myself against the best in the league," Girdwood-Reich said.

"Yeah, (Fornaroli) is in red hot form. Everyone's saying that but I back myself to give him a game.

"It's not my decision as to who plays on the weekend but it's good to have (Rodwell) back.

"I could play alongside him. I played alongside him in the Australia Cup, and we got a couple of clean sheets.

"As a young player, you just want to get on the field anywhere and I think I'm quite versatile."

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