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Syd FC set for battling Perth in A-League

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016 Emma Kemp

They'll be reacquainted in Perth this weekend but Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill insists that's the most contact he's had with former A-League coach Kenny Lowe.

The Sky Blues moved quickly this week to lock in O'Neill for a further two years, amid reports the Glory had also noticed the 22-year-old's sterling form and were keen to repatriate the Perth-born talent.

"I never spoke to Kenny, any of the coaching staff or anyone at Perth Glory," O'Neill said.

"It all came out in a rush that they were interested in signing me again. Whether it was completely true or false, I can't comment.

"I took it as more of a funny scenario rather than a serious one because my heart and head were telling me to stay at Sydney."

There is a chasm in form between the two sides as O'Neill and table-topping Sydney prepare for Saturday night's match.

While the Sky Blues remain unbeaten with a six-point buffer over Melbourne City, fifth-placed Perth have conceded 19 goals for just three wins in 10 matches.

The Glory were booed by home fans for their insipid 2-1 capitulation last weekend to lowly Newcastle, forcing captain Rostyn Griffiths to concede his highly rated squad hadn't been delivering.

"Unfortunately for Perth, it's kind of what they're used to at the moment," O'Neill said.

"I still have a lot of close mates and I know the boys there are really determined to turn it around.

"I'm sure they will but I don't think it will be against us."

Another former Glory man, goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, was more wary of the way Perth could lift for big games but was confident there were areas prime for exploitation.

The Sky Blues rediscovered some of their mojo in last weekend's spiteful 1-1 draw with City, and were set on transforming those glimpses of quality back into the rampant attack that kick-started their season.

With second and third place facing off in Saturday's Melbourne derby, Vukovic said it was crucial to rake in three points.

"One of the Melbourne teams is guaranteed to drop points - maybe both of them if they draw," he said.

"It's the perfect chance to kick further ahead and keep a bit of daylight between us and the rest of the chasing pack."

O'Neill will almost certainly return to the starting line-up with midfielder Josh Brillante suspended, while impact striker Matt Simon is sidelined after copping a one-match ban for shouldering City defender Michael Jakobsen.

Vukovic was reluctant to say whether he thought the suspension was fair but admitted the absence of the fiery substitute was a big loss.

"He changed the game in our favour when he came on and was a big reason why we managed the equaliser," he said.

"He got in their faces and didn't take a backward step."

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