Overcoming a stop-start schedule, COVID-19 outbreaks and a growing injury toll has Brisbane Roar boss Warren Moon facing his toughest period as an A-League Men head coach.
The Roar slumped to a 3-1 loss to Adelaide United at home last weekend as the toll of four games in 11 days after a five-week COVID-enforced hiatus came to bear.
It means after seven matches, the Roar are last on the ladder with just one win and four goals to show for their efforts in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Moon will again be patching together his squad for Saturday’s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at Moreton Daily Stadium, with attackers Luke Ivanovic, Cyrus Dehmie and Alex Parsons still unavailable.
Youngster Louis Zabala has also tested positive to COVID-19 since the Adelaide match while captain Tom Aldred continues to be sidelined due to a pre-season knee injury, although Argentine striker Juan Lescano is expected to return to the bench having missed the Adelaide game.
“This is as tough as it gets for us as a club,” Moon told AAP.
“Myself personally but the players too, they’re winners and they want to win.
“Challenges are thrown at us which put obstacles in our way, but we have to try and overcome that and find ways to get the results.”
Standing in Moon’s way this weekend will be Carl Robinson’s Wanderers, who haven’t played since a dramatic 3-3 draw with Melbourne City at AAMI Park on January 9.
Pressure is mounting on the Welsh coach with Wanderers having also won just once this season and sitting a point above the Roar, albeit having played one match less.
Captain Rhys Williams is out after rupturing a hamstring tendon in the City game but with Israeli striker Tomer Hemed, English midfielder Jack Rodwell and former Socceroo James Troisi at their disposal, still boast plenty of talent.
“They’re a quality side, heavyweights of the competition,” Moon said.
“Look at their squad, it’s a strong team, so we’re expecting a really tough game. It doesn’t get any easier for us. We’ve got to make sure we try and get people fit, bodies in the squad that can come and do a job for us.
“That’s our challenge right now.”