SYDNEY FC coach Pierre Littbarski has accused A-League henchmen of using strong-arm tactics to "smash" star import Dwight Yorke.
The trademark Yorke smile has been replaced by a frown as he counts the knocks from four outings for his new club.
Last Friday's battle with Queensland Roar left Yorke with a badly bruised ankle.
"The quality of some of the players isn't enough so they just try and smash better players and that's sad," Littbarski moaned. "Dwight couldn't train on Monday because his ankle was so sore and he's not happy about some of the challenges against Queensland.
"Hard play is OK but if there are too many fouls, who wants to see that? Referees need to keep an eye on things and take action when it's called for."
But Perth Glory's Socceroos midfielder Simon Colosimo warned yesterday the Trinidad and Tobago striker could be in for more "close attention" when Sydney head west on Saturday.
"While we won't be going out to kick the hell out of Dwight, we'll certainly try to deny him space.
"There's a bit of needle in the match because we're both on seven points and the last time we met [a 1-0 Pre Season Cup win for Perth at Aussie Stadium] there were some naughty tackles going in.
"But credit to Dwight. He's shown he's up for it here with his performances for Sydney and that's great for the competition."
Littbarski is set to name the same starting side for the first time this season. Skipper Mark Rudan will miss out with Yorke taking over as skipper for the second successive match.
Rudan has recovered from a hamstring strain but Littbarski is reluctant to change the side that beat Queensland 3-1.
"It's nice to have options," he added. "Overall I was pleased with our performance in Brisbane but there are also things we didn't do too well."