QUESTION: Matt Nash and Ben KennedyJETS coach Gary van Egmond has left Sydney FC guessing by declining to name his goalkeeper for tonight’s showdown at Ausgrid Stadium.
Van Egmond has been weighing up the relative merits of Ben Kennedy and Matthew Nash and was expected to announce his decision after yesterday’s final training session.
But the cagey tactician instead deferred any selection confirmations until he submits his team sheet tonight.
He said he had not discussed the matter with Kennedy nor Nash and wanted to broach the subject with them first, rather than in the media.
But when asked if he was also hoping to leave Sydney in the dark, van Egmond replied: ‘‘It’s a little bit that way, too.’’
Van Egmond was hopeful his subterfuge would undermine Sydney’s pre-match video analysis.
‘‘For their set pieces and things like that, it can actually annoy them a little bit … you’ve got to take every advantage you can,’’ he said.
Kennedy and Nash have alternated in goal for the past two seasons, usually after one or the other has been injured.
Kennedy started the first seven matches of this campaign.
He seemed to have established himself as the first-choice gloveman, but he was concussed playing against Brisbane last month and Nash has occupied the hot seat for the past three games.
But van Egmond said on Thursday that Nash had been inconvenienced at training by a knee injury, which could indicate Kennedy has won a recall.
Van Egmond also declined to reveal which player from his provisional 16-man squad would be omitted today.
‘‘We’ll name the 15 tomorrow, mainly because if someone gets sick or whatever,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got the 16 and we’ll see how they are in the morning before we make that decision.’’
The pre-match mind games, however, appear to be mutual.
Van Egmond said he was wary about which strike force Sydney would deploy tonight, amid speculation during the week that Mark Bridge and Terry Antonis could be late inclusions.
Bridge has missed two games with a back problem, while 18-year-old Antonis has been rested after his recent Olyroos commitments.
‘‘I think they’re being just as cagey,’’ van Egmond said.
But yesterday it appeared neither Bridge nor Antonis would play and Sydney would field the same starting team.
Van Egmond said regardless of who lined up for Sydney, they had enough strikepower to worry any team.
‘‘They’ve obviously got some key players in their team – Nicky Carle, Brett Emerton, Mark Bridge and these players are obviously very, very good players in this league,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ve definitely got some weapons that can hurt you on a given day.’’
The Jets, who have won four from five at home this season, are eager to bounce back from last week’s lacklustre 2-0 loss to arch rivals Central Coast.