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Griffiths up for late season challenge

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Jan 2013

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Sydney defender Adam Griffiths says Sydney FC are well prepared for Saturday’s vital clash with Newcastle Jets.

The Sky Blues face a defining fortnight in their season, starting with an away match with the fifth-placed Jets before returning home to take on champions Brisbane Roar the following weekend.

With just two points separating fifth from ninth place on the A-League table, victories against teams in-and-around the eighth-placed Sky Blues will be pivotal in the quest for a top six berth.

Sydney were last just a few weeks ago but kept their season alive with back-to-back wins and face another do-or-die scenario over the next 12 days.

“For a while now it’s been important for us to win most of our games so this game is no different,” Griffiths said on Tuesday when asked how crucial the next fortnight was for Sydney FC.

“So every game is important from here on in.

“Every team in the league is beatable. That’s why it’s such a good league at the moment. It’s very competitive and any team can win on its day.

“It’s going to be a tough match up in Newcastle; both teams are fighting for the finals we’ll be looking to get the three points.”

With defenders Tiago Calvano and Fabio suspended after they were sent off in the 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory on Saturday, Griffiths is likely to be drafted straight into the starting side to face his former club.

It’s been a frustrating first season at Sydney for the 32-year-old, who has managed just nine starts due to hamstring and knee injuries.

But after returning off the bench against the Victory on the weekend, Griffiths said he is fully fit and eager to show his talent over the remainder of the campaign.

“The last (injury) was just a knock on the knee and it was disappointing because I tried to play but it wasn’t right,” he said.

“Now I’ve made sure it’s right so it doesn’t happen again. I’m feeling good and feeling sharp again.

“Hopefully I can kick on now and get some form coming into the finals.

Asked about facing his former club, where he won an A-League title in 2008, Griffiths said: “It’s always good to play against your old team, especially when you have good memories there.

“The fans are always brilliant up in Newcastle. They’ve stuck by their team through good times and bad.

“But I’m with the Sky Blues now and everything is for them and wanting to beat Newcastle Jets on Saturday.

“….We’ve got the majority of the team fit now so we’re starting to find some rhythm again and looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Veteran midfielder Brett Emerton underwent scans on his hamstring injury on Tuesday, with the club expected to find out the extent of the problem on Wednesday morning.

Due to the pair of suspensions, Rhyan Grant is likely to switch from the right to left-back to cover for Fabio, with Trent McClenahan favourite to start on the right-hand side of defence.

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