Arnold bullish about Sydney FC's FFA Cup final chances at 'Fortress Allianz'
For Graham Arnold, there's one crucial difference between this FFA Cup final and the last -- Fortress Allianz. Even if said fortress is only a quarter full.
With the bulk of his Sydney FC squad intact from last year's away 1-0 Cup final loss to Melbourne City, it's tough to pinpoint what gives Arnold so much confidence that Tuesday's decider against Adelaide United will bring a different outcome.
Tim Cahill's head won't be present, for starters.
But on the eve of his side's second attempt at this particular piece of silverware -- one that would complete the treble for the A-League premiers and champions -- Arnold had one pivotal advantage on his mind.
"We're at 'Fortress Allianz,'" he said. "We're at home, we've got a greater team than what we had last season.
"We're just ready, I just know we're ready and as I said, I expect to win tomorrow night."
It's rounding on nearly 20 months since Sydney last tasted home defeat.
For that reason, Arnold has no interest in fighting Adelaide's claim for underdog status.
"We've been favourites for a long, long time," Arnold said. "It's about having a lot of belief in what we do. When we turn up for training we train to win. Whatever that means, we find a way to win.
"If they want to call themselves the underdogs, we don't care. We don't care about the opposition, we only care about us."
Football Federation Australia is hoping more than 12,000 fans will turn up for the midweek game, significantly fewer than the 18,751 that turned out last year at AAMI Park.
It's been a bitter point of contention among the Reds camp that they weren't handed hosting rights, coach Marco Kurz even pointing out on Monday that Hindmarsh Stadium would have drawn a 16,500-capacity crowd on a school night.
Arnold insisted it mattered little, "full house or half empty, or whatever."
On the pitch Sydney will get a boost if star winger Adrian Mierzejewski makes his first start in five weeks.
Having got through Saturday's 25-minute A-League cameo, the Polish import appears to be over his hamstring injury and ready to play catch me if you can with Reds defenders.
"He's ready to go for 90 minutes," Arnold said on Monday. "It's important for us to get him right physically and ready to play 90 minutes ... now he's ready for 90 minutes and it's time for him to show his quality."