Henrique helping Roar to keep up title challenge
THERE'S no doubting a big factor in the Brisbane Roar holding second spot on the A-League ladder has been the quality of its bench.
That's something the men in orange can call upon if the ninth-placed Perth Glory holds its own in today's clash at Suncorp Stadium, like it did at the same venue on November 15.
That afternoon the Roar won 1-0 but only thanks to super-sub Henrique coming off the bench and scoring after 74 minutes.
The attacker - adored by Roar fans and known as "the Slippery Fish" - did it again for Brisbane against Melbourne City last Sunday night.
He scored in stoppage time after coming on in the second half, to help his team to a 3-1 win.
It is not only Henrique who can hurt opposition late in a game.
The Roar also called upon Javier Hervas and Jean Carlos Solorzano late against City.
Hervas has appeared in Spain's La Liga with Sevilla and has often showed a sublime passing game after coming on from the bench in coach John Aloisi's team.
And Solorzano is also a goal threat, like Henrique.
Aloisi has created a highly competitive environment at training with every player in his squad good enough to start.
"The boys that started last week did well and the boys that came on did well," he said.
"It's always a good headache to have when you've got players in form and wanting to play."
In an ominous sign for the Glory, Aloisi said Henrique was an equal goal-scoring threat whether starting or coming off the bench.
"Whether we start him off the bench or not we know he'll be dangerous for the opposition," Aloisi said.
"He's someone that's lightning quick, direct and he can run in behind defenders."
One Roar player who is pushing for a starting spot is goalkeeper Michael Theo, who has spent a significant time out with a quad strain.
The decorated veteran stopper will play in Brisbane's youth team against Perth at the Cleveland Showgrounds tomorrow.
"It's another game for him and he needs games because he missed out on quite a bit of football," Aloisi said of the five-time championship winner.
"He's looking forward to playing and hopefully he plays 90 minutes on Sunday."
The Roar has won four and drawn three of its past eight matches against the Glory in the A-League.
But Aloisi said the team from the west would still be difficult to beat.
"Perth is coming with a bit of form and confidence, getting a good point in Melbourne last week against the Victory," he said.
"We know Perth can sit off the ball, but they've also got players that can play ... especially (Diego) Castro, he's starting to show what type of player he is.
"If you score it opens up the game, so hopefully we can score early."