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Sydney vow to fire first against City

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Emma Kemp

They're traditionally stronger A-League finishers but midfielder Josh Brillante vows Sydney FC will come out with all guns blazing to make a statement against fast-starting Melbourne City.

City enter Friday night's one-versus-two clash at ANZ Stadium having scored a league-high eight goals in the first 45 minutes of games this season.

Table-toppers Sydney, meanwhile, have backed up coach Graham Arnold's claims they are the fittest team in the competition by scoring eight of their 20 goals in the last 20 minutes of play.

Part of the Sky Blues' FFA Cup final undoing last week were the hostile opening exchanges, which turned the match into a frenetic, physical battle that stopped them playing the style that's brought so much success this campaign.

"We've just got to concentrate on the playing side of things and not get worked up too much on all that kind of stuff," said Brillante, who was named on Thursday as November's nominee for young footballer of the year.

"We're just as aggressive (as City), if not more aggressive.

"We'll definitely come out firing and ready to go."

Revenge for last week's tough loss isn't the only thing on the cards for Sydney.

There's also an undefeated record at stake and a nine-point lead at the summit up for grabs.

For Brillante it presented a vital moment to make a statement ahead of a busy Christmas period.

"If we can get the result - and I think everyone knows we can get the result - that will help to push us a little bit further ahead and put us in a really good position going into the middle of the season," he said.

Brillante's nomination rewards the 23-year-old's influence in the middle of the park since joining Sydney in the off-season, including a cracking maiden goal against Brisbane three weeks ago.

He credited regular midfield partner and October young footballer of the year nominee Brandon O'Neill for helping him rediscover the rich vein of form that also earned him a nomination in February 2014 while at Newcastle.

Regardless, Arnold will have a tough selection decision to make after Milos Dimitrijevic, who's spent most of the season on the bench, pressed his case for a second-straight start after a sparkling display against the Jets last Sunday.

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