Queensland Roar defender Andrew Packer has urged fans to ignore the club’s home drought and storm the gates for Saturday’s clash with table-topping Melbourne Victory.
Suncorp Stadium has continued to be a barren hunting ground for the Roar, with four appointments this season producing a draw and three losses.
That form has been in stark contrast to the club’s fortunes on the road, which has seen Frank Farina’s men claim the scalp of four opponents – including a 2-0 win over the Victory in late September – and draw with two others.
In spite of themselves at home, the Roar can move to the top of the A-League ladder if they defeat Melbourne and Sydney fall to Wellington. But it won’t be an easy task given the Victory have lost just one of five road games themselves.
Packer said recent wins on road trips to Wellington and Newcastle had the squad buzzing and promised a fast, open and attacking game for those who made the trip to Milton on Saturday night.
"Everyone’s feeling that confidence and you can see at training everyone’s picked up a bit. You can feel the relief when you start off early in the week. We’re obviously pumped for this game Saturday night," Packer said.
"They don’t just come to see us too, they come to see the other teams as well. There’s always good football, there’s no complaints about that. It’s going to be a good game to watch. Both teams are confident, they’re coming off wins and I think we could really see a good attacking sort of game."
He said the home hoodoo, which has been reflected in dwindling attendances, had not been discussed and the Roar would approach the game with business as usual.
"We’ve had a good training session this morning and we haven’t thought about it. It’s pretty early in the week. I’m pretty sure we’ll have the same routine as we did last home game. We’re really pumped for this one," Packer said.
The fact Queensland can head into the international break, during which the Socceroos will face Bahrain, on top of the ladder shows how quickly a run of wins can elevate teams up the table.
Packer said much of the hard work had been done and the side was now focused on keeping that standard in place and ensuring a consistent flow of points kept them safely in the finals race.
"You only need two or three wins. If you go on a bit of a run in this league you’re going to be right up there. If we can stay consistent and keep picking up points that’s what it’s all about," Packer said.
"You look at Wellington – they had a few wins and started to get close to the top four and a few losses and they are back down again. You need to go on these runs and the team that stays the most consistent is going to be the one that does it.
"We need to make sure we get in the top four and stay there. That’s what we want to do – we want to stay up there. We have to make sure we pick up points again."
Tahj Minniecon and Michael Zullo scored goals in the Roar’s 2-0 away win over the Victory earlier in the season, a match which Packer said the Queenslanders "dominated" – a performance he wants repeated on Saturday.
"We dominated that match and we’ll be hoping to do the same thing," Packer said.
"Every team’s tough but Melbourne have got some really good individual players. They work hard and they’ve done well against us a couple of times at home. It’s our turn to really put it right."
The Victory are bolstered by the return from suspension of strikers Archie Thompson and Ney Fabiano.