• Answer for Sydney's problems ... Travis Dodd (Getty Images)
Perth Glory attacker Travis Dodd believes he may have discovered the roots of Sydney FC’s ills – it relies too heavily on the star power of Alessandro Del Piero.
By
twg

3 Jan 2013 - 9:51 PM  UPDATED 3 Jan 2013 - 11:07 PM

The Italian playmaker returns to the languishing Sky Blues line-up for Saturday night’s visit to fifth-placed Glory.

And Dodd reckons the visitor – two points adrift at the foot of the A-League ladder and coming off the back of a 3-0 loss in Adelaide – will again lean heavily on its ageing import for inspiration.

"It reminds me a bit of when we had (Brazilian great) Romario at Adelaide United as a guest player a few years back and the tendency was to give him the ball at every opportunity and hope that he does something special with it," explained Dodd.

"When you have that sort of quality in your team it's a natural thing to do.

"But that means you are relying too much on one player and other players maybe don't take the responsibility you would usually expect of them.

"Obviously he has missed a few games through injury here and there and Sydney is starting to pick up results without him.

"But now that he is back for Saturday's game, it will be interesting to see how they react to that. It’s never about just one player in football, but when you have a Del Piero you are always going to expect that little bit of magic."

Perth is also looking for a reaction after its 1-0 road loss to Central Coast Mariners as it seeks the consistency which has eluded it this season, making a repeat of last season’s run to the grand final look increasingly remote.

Dodd believes it must turn the screw on Sydney early at nib Stadium, explaining: "They are bottom of the table and obviously confidence is going to be a little fragile.

"So we have to get on top early and plant a seed of doubt in their minds and remind them just where they are on the table.

"Of course though they are going to be stronger on paper than they were against Adelaide with Del Piero, Jason Culina and Joel Chianese all back from injury and Ali Abbas (from suspension). That’s going to be a huge boost.

"This is not a case of facing a team of easy beats, far from it. I personally believe they are a far better team than their results suggest."

Glory, which is without defenders Bas van den Brink (suspended) and Michael Thwaite (calf injury), has its own demons to exorcise and needs a big second half of the season.

"We've only picked up three points on the road this season and that's been our undoing," said Dodd.

"That's nowhere near good enough if we want to be in the running to reach another grand final.

"Our form has been very frustrating at times but we have a team of leaders and last season we went on a great run after Christmas which are hoping to repeat in 2013.

"I believe we have an even stronger squad than last season and we have a team full of leaders, so I don't think you will see our season fizzling out."

Glory's fortunes outside WA were typified by its fourth round loss to Sydney, with Ian Ferguson’s men a goal up and cruising before the dismissal of Steve Pantalidis early in the second-half changed the dynamic of the match and allowed Sydney to sneak a 2-1 win.