Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says his skipper Alex Brosque is too good to remain a super-sub and believes the 33-year-old can play on for another few seasons.
Brosque has been used as a substitute in all three games so far in the 2016/17 Season as he slowly regains full fitness from a long-term hamstring injury.
And he’s made a telling impact with each appearance, scoring against both the Wanderers and Mariners in big 4-0 wins, while helping turn the momentum against Wellington Phoenix last weekend.
The striker’s form is hard to ignore but he’s likely to again come off the bench in Saturday’s clash at Newcastle Jets.
“At the moment I’ve got plenty of choices to make.
“What I’m seeing though is after 60 minutes when I bring Alex on or Matty Simon as well, the opposition struggle to contain them,” Arnold told reporters on Thursday.
“Of the nine goals we’ve scored so far in the league, five have come in the last 20 minutes of game when our fitness kicks in and we bring on Alex Brosque and Matty Simon.
“It’s about having a strong squad and using all the players and so far it’s working well.”
Brosque has played 90 minutes just once in 2016, the club’s recent Westfield FFA Cup semi-final win over Canberra United.
Asked if the one-time Caltex Socceroo was now simply going to be an impact player for the Sky Blues, Arnold declared: “No he’s too good for that.
“At the moment we’re building his fitness and making sure there’s no slip-ups with what happened to his hamstring.
“Alex is in a real good head space. He wanted to continue this year because of what happened with his hamstring last year, he didn’t want to finish that way.
“I still think he has another two or three years left in him.”
Meanwhile, Arnold hinted winger Bernie Ibini might have to wait another week before getting a spot on the bench, despite being named in an extended squad for the trip to the Hunter.
While the Sky Blues are clear on top with a 100% record, Newcastle are also still unbeaten.
They drew with champions Adelaide in round one, crushed Brisbane 4-0 the following week while came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with the Wanderers last weekend.
Arnold has been impressed with their start under new boss Mark Jones.
“Mark has been clever by taking over late from Scott Miller, he left the system the same, personnel the same,” the Sky Blues boss said.
“It will take him time to get his stamp on what he wants.
“At the moment they are undefeated, doing well defensively in the system they are playing and showed great character last weekend against the Wanderers.
“They are dangerous at home so we have to make sure we go there with the right attitude and try and win the game.”