AAP Soccer

Ninkovic backs himself for A-League clash

By AAP Newswire

Key Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic is optimistic a knee issue won't prevent him playing against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, when the Sky Blues strive to improve on what he rates their worst A-League performance of the season.

Ninkovic copped a knock early in last Saturday's win over Central Coast and said the knee had been swollen for the past four days.

"Today it is much better and I think I will be ready for tomorrow's game," Ninkovic told AAP before participating in training on Friday.

Even if he should suffer a late setback, Sydney have deeper playmaking and attacking resources this week.

Marquee Siem de Jong is back in the squad after missing four matches with a hamstring injury.

Also available is Daniel De Silva after being ineligible for last week's match, because he is on loan from the Mariners.

Sydney came from behind to beat the Mariners 2-1 in Gosford, but are looking for a significantly improved performance against struggling Phoenix.

"The last game against Central Coast was probably our worst game and we want to show a good performance tomorrow and take three points," Ninkovic said.

"If we keep the ball we will create chances and we will score more goals and we didn't do that against Central Coast."

The Johnny Warren Medallist in 2016-17, Serb Ninkovic was perhaps less prominent last season when Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski succeeded him in winning the award for the A-League's best player.

But with Mierzejewski leaving and De Silva and de Jong not playing much so far this season, more of the playmaking load has fallen on Ninkovic.

'"Siem is back, Danny De Silva is back and we have very good players in this team and I don't feel pressure more than last year," Ninkovic said.

Saturday's game is the nomadic Sky Blues second home fixture at Jubilee Stadium in southern Sydney, following one at the SCG, and they still have to host games at a third venue, Leichhardt Oval.

"It's not easy but we are football players and sometimes you don't have a choice, Ninkovic said.

Wellington are winless in their last five games and haven't had a victory over Sydney in their last six encounters.

"I want players with courage who want to play and who want the ball. We'll take it to Sydney FC," said Wellington coach Mark Rudan, who captained the Sky Blues to the inaugural A-League title in 2005-06.

Stats that matter

* Sydney are undefeated in their last six games against Wellington, last losing to Phoenix in March 2016.

*Sydney have lost two of their last three home games and haven't had back-to-back home defeats since March-April 2016.

*Wellington have picked up just one point from their last eight away games.