Hagen Hopkinsgetty

Roar ready to move on from Mulvey: Smith

ROAR captain Matt Smith (pictured) is done with all the questions about Mike Mulvey and Besart Berisha.

He just wants to move on from the fact the championship-winning coach and striker are no longer at the Brisbane club. And that is because he has a strong belief in the personnel still around him.

Smith and his teammates will need all that belief at Pirtek Stadium tonight to beat the Asian champions, Western Sydney.

Both teams will be desperate for a win, as the two A-League grand finalists from last season sit inside the bottom three on the ladder.

"We've dealt with that. The embarrassment of last week (the Mulvey sacking) is now the embarrassment of last week," Smith said.

"We have a game (tonight) and that's what I'm focussing on now."

Despite admitting embarrassment over the way the Mulvey situation was handled, Smith said his team's mood under new coach Frans Thijssen was a buoyant one.

"The group is strong, but it's been a tough week to 10 days now. But the boys are working very hard," Smith said.

"I'm very happy with our dressing room, and I'm very happy with our preparation."

Smith said the strong feeling among his club was boosted by last Saturday's 1-all draw against ladder-leader Perth.

"We controlled the game against a team that's top of the league. It feels like we're close (to regaining last season's form)," he said.

Smith said tonight's game could be a thriller, with the Wanderers also showing good form in their 1-all draw against Sydney FC on Saturday night.

"They're very compact and well organised. They have some players that can hurt you on the counter-attack," Smith said. "They have players that can penetrate. I feel that, opposed to our style, we play an open and attacking style.

"By them being very well organised and with us trying to break them down and create a lot of space, we're vulnerable to their counter-attack.

"But I'm very confident in our side. We've taken a lot of confidence from the game against Perth."

Another reason for Smith's confidence could be the Roar's record against its fierce New South Wales rivals. The Roar is unbeaten in its past four games against Western Sydney.



Pirtek Stadium, 5.30pm (AEST)