Hyundai A-League preview: Adelaide v Wellington

Wellington Phoenix will aim for just their second away win of the season when they visit the reigning champions Adelaide United on Sunday.

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off:  4:30PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))

Referee:  Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1 : Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2:  Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official:  Daniel Elder

TV Broadcast:  Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast : ABC Grandstand ABC Adelaide, ABC Radio South Australia, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvWEL

To purchase tickets visit  www.aleague.com.au

Adelaide United Squad:  1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.HENRIQUE, 8.ISAÍAS, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 13.Marc MARINO, 14.George MELLS, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO

**two to be omitted**

Adelaide United forward Ryan Kitto

Ins:  13.Marc MARINO (promoted), 14.George MELLS (promoted), 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted), 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC (returns from injury), 22.Ryan KITTO (promoted)

Outs : 9.Sergi GUARDIOLA (released), 12.Mark OCHIENG (not selected), 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY (not selected)

Unavailable:  23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)

Wellington Phoenix Squad:  1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8, Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.MichaelMcGLINCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 99.Shane SMELTZ

**one to be omitted**

Marco Rossi

Ins:  6.Dylan FOX (promoted), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (promoted)

Outs:  13.Marco ROSSI (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable:  13.Marco ROSSI (suspended – 1 week)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Phoenix will head back to the scene of the crime - as it were - this week with their 2-0 loss at Adelaide United in early December prompting former coach Ernie Merrick to quit his post.

But while Wellington's players were left stunned by Merrick's decision, the New Zealand-based side have turned their season around since then with three wins and three draws in eight matches to move into the top six ahead of Round 17.

Co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre are doing a top job.

In the third meeting between these two clubs this season, Phoenix will look to bounce back from last week's 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar and retain their spot in the top six.

But Wellington's away form is nothing to write home about - they have only beaten Central Coast Mariners on the road in 2016/17, while they have lost six of their past eight away games.

Adelaide caused the upset of the round with a 2-1 win over Melbourne City on Thursday night.

The visitors will come up against a rejigged Adelaide attack at Coopers Stadium, with the Reds having released Sergi Guardiola by mutual consent on Wednesday.

Having scored just three goals in 16 matches during his time in Adelaide, Guardiola's lack of impact has been a critical factor in the South Australian club's poor defence of their A-League double.

If the Reds lose to the Phoenix, they could finish the weekend 11 points adrift of the top six with just 10 games remaining.

Guardiola didn't start Adelaide's last two games with Sergio Cirio taking his place as Guillermo Amor's centre-forward and the addition of Nikola Mileusnic, Ryan Kitto and Marc Marino indicate the Reds' front three could be tweaked again.

George Mells and Jesse Makarounas have also been promoted with Mark Ochieng and Jordan O'Doherty omitted.

For Wellington, Italian defender Marco Rossi will miss the match due to a one-game ban with Dylan Fox and Matthew Ridenton getting call-ups.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League Round 17 stats preview

ROUTE TO GOAL

Rossi's absence will seriously hurt the visitors' defence, with the 29-year-old's impressive partnership with captain Andrew Durante playing a key role in three clean sheets in the Phoenix's past five fixtures.

How Ryan Lowry or Fox perform could be critical to this match.

While Wellington were held scoreless by Roar last week, the addition of Shane Smeltz has made the Kiwis' attack look much more dangerous over the past few games.

Shane Smeltz will be one of Wellington's key attacking weapons against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night at Westpac Stadium.

Adelaide seem to be relying on short, speedy forwards since Amor decided Guardiola wasn't up to scratch, with Cirio, Henrique and Mileusnic the potential starting trio up front for the hosts.

But with just 12 goals this season - the lowest in the A-League - the Reds need significant improvement in the forward third if they're to launch a late bid for the finals.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Guillermo Amor. With his big pre-season signing - Guardiola - having left early, Adelaide's coach needs to make some moves in the January transfer window. Eli Babalj is trialling with the Reds and two import spots are available after Iacopo La Rocca became an Australian citizen.

Adelaide United boss Guillermo Amor.

FORM LINES (last five games)

Adelaide United: LDLWL

Wellington Phoenix: DLWWL

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 1-2 Wellington Phoenix