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Roar can handle City's Cahill, Fornaroli

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016 Vince Rugari

Brisbane coach John Aloisi is confident his side will have no trouble blunting Melbourne City's all-star attack in Friday night's A-League blockbuster.

The likes of Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli might have cut swathes through opposition defences across the first month of the competition, but Aloisi insists the Roar's occasionally shaky rearguard will be able to cope.

Two statistics show why.

First, the Roar have one of the A-League's strongest home records, having lost just once in the past 18 months at Suncorp Stadium.

Second, they've conceded just nine shots on target - the fewest of any side so far this season, even accounting for their 4-0 nightmare in round two in Newcastle.

"That means we're defending well as a team - not only the back four," Aloisi said.

"We know it's going to be difficult again because it's not only Fornaroli and Tim Cahill, they've got other players that are in there.

"But in every team we play against every week, there's quality players."

Despite speculation he could miss through injury, Cahill has been included in City's travelling squad and is expected to start - setting up an intriguing battle with Roar frontman Jamie Maclaren, who has replaced him in the Socceroos' squad for this month's World Cup qualifier in Thailand.

The last time Cahill played at Suncorp, he scored a memorable bicycle kick in Australia's 2-0 win over China early last year in the Asian Cup quarter-finals, and a crowd of more than 20,000 is expected to catch another glimpse.

Brisbane's Dimitri Petratos and Arana, meanwhile, are a "big chance" of making their first appearances of the season, according to Aloisi.

Petratos has overcome an ankle injury while Spanish off-season recruit Arana, a versatile attacking player, has been building up his match fitness and is ready to be unleashed.

City coach John van 't Schip is wary of what Aloisi and his new-look Roar might have in store.

"They've changed their approach a bit, they're playing a bit more defensively and then on the counter-attack," he said.

"The conditions are always different, but also I think we're in good shape."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* City have won four of their past six games against Brisbane (D1, L1), including a 3-1 victory in their last encounter

* Neil Kilkenny (4) has received more yellow cards than any other player in the competition so far and twice as many as any Roar player

* Brisbane have conceded 22 more fouls than they've won so far this campaign, the biggest negative disparity of any team in the competition

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