Sky Blues out of their comfort zone

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold. DAN HIMBRECHTS

SYDNEY FC coach Graham Arnold is wary of taking on a struggling Perth in tonight's A-League clash at nib Stadium.

Arnold's team suffered just its first loss of the season in a pulsating Big Blue Derby against the Melbourne Victory last Saturday night.

And while the Sky Blues remain third on the table with three wins and two draws, the Glory is well back in ninth place with just one win from the first six rounds.

But Arnold believes his team's first trip outside New South Wales for this season won't be an easy one.

"Any team that's coached by Kenny Lowe is hard to play against," Arnold said.

"You look at the reality of what happened last year - they were up the top all the way through until their issues (such as being denied a finals spot because of a salary cap breach).

"They're a strong side - (and have) good foreigners; foreigners take time to settle and they get better and better."

Arnold said he would miss the services of his own import, defender Jacques Faty, who has returned to France for personal reasons.

"It's a blow to lose his leadership. So other players will have to step up in the leadership role that Jacques is so good at," Arnold said.

"I've got 100% faith in everyone so on the field performance-wise we'll be okay.

"I've got two choices (at centre-back) - Seb Ryall who's played a lot at centre-back for us, or Zac Anderson."

For the Glory, Chris Harold and Mitch Oxborrow are back from injuries, and Josh Risdon returns from making his Socceroos debut against Bangladesh.

Guyon Fernandez is out with a foot injury.

Sydney beat Perth in both away matches last season, putting three goals past it in both fixtures.

The Sky Blues have recorded 10 consecutive regular-season wins on the road and are unbeaten in 17 consecutive away games.



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