Preview: Cairns FC vs Sydney FC (FFA Cup)

Sydney FC travel to Cairns for their Round of 16 fixture this week, as they look to build on a solid preseason and venture towards further glory in the FFA Cup.

Predicted lineup:
Bench: Cisak, Calver, Grant, Devlin, Cox

Sydney will be missing defender Alex Wilkinson (injury), midfielder Danny de Silva (injury), and recent signing Adam le Fondre (visa) for this game. However, it is not of great concern considering Cairns\’ recent form in the QPL. \”The Heat\” have lost their last 5 league matches, conceding a total of 16 goals and only scoring 2.

Cairns celebrating a goal
Former A-League player Adam Sarota is unavailable for the club due to injury, and as such have been dealt a massive blow in their hopes for a cupset.

Cairns got to the Round of 16 with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Western Australian side Armadale SC. They impressed in that victory, and showed an eye for goal throughout.  

Jop van der Linden is set to make his debut
I predict Sydney will start with Lokolingoy and Brosque leading the line in a 4-4-2, with the midfield remaining fairly similar to the team that beat Rockdale 4-2. Wilkinson being injured does mean Jop van der Linden is in line to make his first competitive appearance for the Sky Blues.
Lokolingoy getting potentially his first ever competitive start is a massive chance for him to impress. The youngster struggled to get any minutes in last season, but has blistering pace and a powerful shot on him. Him scoring could be a massive confidence boost ahead of the new season. 
Ben Warland will be eager to impress, in hopes of potentially getting the permanent gig as starting CB alongside Wilkinson. 
Rhyan Grant played in the behind closed doors game against Brisbane Roar, but I suspect he won\’t be starting just yet but instead on the bench. 
I think Cairns will need to be very well organised to stand any chance of a cupset. Their major advantage will the familiar surroundings and experience with the humidity of the tropics. Realistically however, this game will go one of two ways – a massive scoreline in favour of Sydney, similar to their 8-0 win in Darwin last year, or a tighter but undemanding 4-2 like the Rockdale game in which Sydney\’s general quality and consistency will see them through. 
SCORE PREDICTION: Cairns 1-5 Sydney FC