Vukovic and Janjetovic give Arnold a headache

Danny Vukovic said whoever Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold picks to start the A-League season in goal is going to be ready to fire because he and Vedran Janjetovic have been pushing each other to the limit in the pre-season.

Danny Vukovic

Sydney FC goalkeeper Danny Vukovic training ahead of the FFA quarter-final clash with Blacktown City Source: AAP

Arnold's choice of goalkeeper for the FFA Cup quarter-final, against NSW NPL champions Blacktown City at Sydney United Sports Centre on Wednesday night, could provide a clear indication of his thinking heading into the new A-League campaign.

Sydney will begin with a massive derby clash against Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, October 8, which is expected to attract a record crowd for an A-League match.

While Vukovic played in both the 3-0 FFA Cup Round of 32 cup win over Wollongong Wolves and the 2-0 Round of 16 win over Perth Glory, it is not clear who will start against Blacktown.


It remains possible that Arnold may want to give Janjetovic the chance to impress in a meaningful game. 

Janjetovic, Sydney's regular goalkeeper in recent seasons, was inconvenienced by a leg injury ahead of the clash with the Wolves, but still sat on the bench in that game.

He has played in other trial games, including the 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago.

It looks from the outside like Vukovic has got the jump on Janjetovic at this stage, but Vukovic, who joined the Sky Blues from Melbourne Victory this season, told The World Game he wasn't taking anything for granted.

"I don't know, it's a tough one. They're still pre-season fixtures and just because I've played in the cup games so far, doesn't mean I'll be playing in the first round against the Wanderers," Vukovic said.

"But I do want to be playing and certainly Vedran wants to be playing, too, so it's good for Sydney FC to have two capable and proven goalkeepers vying for one spot.

"I think Vedran was a little bit injured going into that first game against Wollongong, which probably didn't play in his favour.

"He probably would have been able to get through the game, but obviously it's pre-season and they didn't want to take a risk with him.

"We're both working really hard together. We've got a good relationship and I know if he's playing I'll support him and I'm sure it'll be the same if I'm playing."

Goalkeepers work very closely together under the control of the goalkeeping coach at a club and the dynamic is such that the only way it can progress smoothly is for the shot-stoppers to support each other even when they are in competition for the one spot. 

"Exactly, and I think as a goalkeeper you do naturally have a really close working relationship with the other goalkeepers in the squad," Vukovic said.

"We work really closely together as goalkeepers at Sydney FC. We work together every day and I know I'm working as hard as I can and I knew Vedran's working as hard as he can to be playing.

"I feel we're going to get the best out of each other and whoever 'Arnie' picks for the start of the season is going to be ready, whether it's me or Vedran.

"Arnie leaves his team selection pretty late, so we don't know who's starting in the cup game, but we're both working and preparing as if we're playing and that's how it should be - not only in these games but throughout the season."

Vukovic, who finished last season as the number two goalkeeper at the Victory behind Lawrence Thomas, said he was enjoying working with familiar faces again in Arnold, who previously coached him at Central Coast, and ex-Mariners goalkeeper coach John Crawley.

"It's good timing for me to be working with Arnie and John again," he said.

"John has not only been a great friend of mine, but I feel he's the best goalkeeper coach in the country.

"He has done so much for me in my professional career already, so I think I'm in the right place to get back to my best.

"It's still only early days, but I feel good and sharp. I was happy with the two cup games I played and I just want to try to keep being as consistent as I can and get back to my old self again."

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Published 21 September 2016 at 11:29am
By Greg Prichard