Sydney FC superstar Alessandro Del Piero will be the subject of close attention as Perth Glory look to extend their positive start to the season at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
The Italian attacker has ignited the A-League since joining the Sky Blues, scoring twice in three games and helping swell the league's average attendance to more than 16,000 to vindicate the fanfare that greeted his arrival.
Glory have spent the week defending themselves against rivals' claims they are overly physical, with coach Ian Ferguson yesterday joining players Billy Mehmet and Steve Pantelidis in rejecting the notion.
Ferguson was clearly annoyed with the negative perception of his side, labelling it "crap", but said Glory would still attempt to keep a tight rein on Del Piero, who starred during 19 seasons with European superpower Juventus.
"I hear the same crap every year and I'm getting sick and tired of it," Ferguson said.
"We're actually a better footballing team than people give us credit for. You can't just give a player like Del Piero space and time on the ball, (because) he'll crucify you.
"The plan is to make sure we don't give him that much room."
Sydney coach Ian Crook said tackling Glory wouldn't faze Del Piero, regardless of the visitors' approach to the game.
"He's played against players all over the world that try different things against him," Crook said.
Ferguson will make a final decision on his starting line-up today, with central defender Bas van den Brink available after overcoming a calf injury.
Pantelidis performed well alongside Michael Thwaite in van den Brink's absence in the 2-0 home win over Melbourne Heart last Sunday.
Sydney are likely to field a makeshift back four, with a decision on the fitness of key left-back Fabio (thigh) to be made today.Adam Griffiths (hamstring) and Pascal Bosschaart (back) have been ruled out of the first-ever A-League game at the Sydney Olympics venue, which officials hope will attract more than 25,000 fans.