Joshua Brillante will miss next week's clash with Wellington due to suspension.
Joshua Brillante will miss next week's clash with Wellington due to suspension. DAN PELED

Suspensions could hit Sydney's record bid

FOOTBALL: Sydney FC needs just four more points to top Brisbane Roar's all-time season record of 65.

But its quest to be the A-League's best ever has been rocked by the suspension to two key players - with both Joshua Brillante and Brandon O'Neill receiving their eighth bookings of the season.

This means Sydney will be without its two starting central midfielders for the trip to Wellington Phoenix.

Although Graham Arnold's post-game interview with Fox Sports appeared to suggest both Brillante and O'Neill received cautions under instruction, ensuring they are free and available to play in the final regular game of the season at home to Newcastle Jets.

"The big picture is for us to keep winning," Arnold told Fox Sports.

"That's why Brandon and Joshy got yellows tonight so that they're out for next week and then they can come back fresh against Newcastle when we get back."

It was a frank admission, but Fox Sports football expert Mark Rudan explained that Arnold had earned the right to be strategic with their selections in the final two games of the season.

"From a manager's point of view, I've told players to do similar - play 60 minutes and pick up a yellow for whatever reason," the former Sydney FC captain said.

"But you've earned the right to [be strategic] and he's not asked a player to go out there and do something completely stupid. You would never ask your player to do that.

"But with a technical foul for a yellow card, you can do that because you're looking ahead.

"Those two were on seven yellows and they're 2-0 up and they can have that rest next week.

"There's nothing wrong with that and they've earned the right to do that."