Tim Cahill is ready for action against Sydney FC.
Tim Cahill is ready for action against Sydney FC. JOE CASTRO

Cahill ready for "Cup final replay”

FOOTBALL: Tim Cahill has declared that Melbourne City's clash with the "defensive" Sydney FC tonight is an FFA Cup final replay.

The star attacker revealed that he had struggled since the team's chaotic trip to Coffs Harbour a month ago after playing on a "cricket pitch".

The guest marquee was back in starting contention for the AAMI Park clash along with right-back Ivan Franjic who set up his cup final winner almost three months ago.

Cahill vowed to attack the Sky Blues, expecting the visitors to pick their moments.

"This is like another FFA Cup final, they're coming to our place," Cahill said.

"There's a lot on it, we're excited by it. There's a fresh buzz about our team and we're starting to click.

"When you play Sydney FC you know they're going to come here and defend, it'd be very unlikely for them to come out and attack,'' he said.

"They know we've got a lot going forward. They've based themselves on a manager (Graham Arnold) that makes sure they're well drilled.

"The way they play, all the midfield fuses back in. They wait and pray and there's 11 behind the ball, 24/7.

"You have to really respect that, that's the reason that they're at the top but questions will be asked when it's about winning games at the right times.

"We need to finish as high as possible and come finals, we need to be firing. It's about whoever's up for the fight at the end of the season.''

Cahill's last start was in the January 27 loss to Newcastle and featured for just a few minutes off the bench last week, with a suspension sandwiched in between.

"Coffs Harbour was a big one for me playing on a cricket pitch, it was a difficult trip, travelling almost 48 hours and the morning of the game and I had a bit of a knock,'' he said.

"It's working out OK; it's about management. There's eight games until finals."

City is third on goal difference, trailing leader Sydney FC by 17 points.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC at AAMI Park, tonight 6.50pm (AEST)

News Corp Australia

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