THEIR A-League fortress may be about to crumble but Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo has welcomed the challenge of replicating their enviable home record elsewhere.
The Sky Blues host their first game of the new campaign at the SCG in the derby against Western Sydney on Saturday.
It is only a stone’s throw away from Allianz Stadium – which will soon be demolished and redeveloped – where Sydney had lost just one of their past 28 A-League matches.
The SCG, traditional cricket ground, is one of three venues used by the club this year, with Jubilee Oval and Leichhardt Oval also set up as temporary homes.
Sydney prepare for historic WSW clash0:00
A-League: Sydney FC are preparing for an historic clash with Western Sydney in round 2 of the A-League.
Zullo denied the A-League powerhouse, who kicked-off the campaign with a 1-1 draw in Adelaide, had lost its home ground advantage.
“It depends how you look at it. Any person can look at it and turn it into a negative story if they wanted to, or can turn it into a positive,” Zullo said on Wednesday.
That said there are positives in giving fans three different game-day experiences.
“(It) is something that is different for us but something that won’t happen again in Sydney for a very long time. It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of,” Zullo said.
“SCG is a unique experience in itself, Jubilee Oval will be a unique experience, and Leichhardt Oval will be something special if it’s packed out as well.” Sydney have only had a lone training session at the SCG last week but will ramp up preparations for their Wanderers clash with another training run on Thursday. Zullo is confident the cricket pitch area in the centre of the field won’t be of concern for the players.
Josh Risdon of the Wanderers and Michael Zullo of Sydney FC pose ahead of the Sydney DerbySource:Getty Images
“The ground staff have done a great job to get the pitch the way it is,” he said.
“It’s a tremendous stadium, it’s so much history here and we’re looking forward to writing another page of football history at this unique Sydney stadium.” The Sky Blues have lost just one of their past 14 matches against the Wanderers and beat them 3-0 at Penrith in the FFA Cup semi-final earlier this month. Zullo insisted the Sky Blues are intent on maintaining their dominance in the Sydney derby.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the Wanderers players but we’re also aware that they’re our biggest rivals,” he said.
“No game in the season, apart from the grand final or finals match, means more to our team and our fans than beating the Wanderers.
“In an age where Australian sport is sanitised and clean, it’s good to have a bona fide rivalry and real sense of tribalism between the two squads.”
Originally published as ‘Won’t happen for a long time’: Sydney FC star eyes ‘exciting opportunity’
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