Perth Glory continue to make waves in the January transfer window but can they halt Melbourne Victory's flow when the Hyundai A-League champions head west to nib Stadium?
Saturday, 30 January 2016
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:40 PM (Local) (9:40 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio WA, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Perth Glory squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA (c), 12.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 24.Jamal REINERS, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS, 31.Ross MILLARD
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Shane LOWRY (new signing), 28.Joe KNOWLES (promoted)
Unavailable: 6.Dino DJULBIC (UPDATED: 4-6 weeks), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite), 23. Michael THWAITE (released)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Jai INGHAM, 24.Thomas DENG
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Scott GALLOWAY (promoted), 24.Thomas DENG (promoted)
Unavailable: 21.Carl VALERI (ill – indefinite)
Kenny Lowe has been one of the most active A-League coaches in the January transfer window.
The Glory boss signed Adam Taggart and Shane Lowry from Championship clubs this week and although he won't be allowed to use the former until next season due to FIFA rules, the latter has been brought into Perth's squad to play Victory.
Taggart and Lowry joined Kosta Petratos and Andy Keogh as Perth's mid-season recruits, although the Glory saw former captain Michael Thwaite depart the club this week for Liaoning Whowin in the Chinese Super League.
Lowry will play a key role in covering Thwaite and fellow departed defender Antony Golec's absence for the rest of the season.
Perth head into Saturday's late match with plenty of confidence after crushing Newcastle Jets 6-1 last week but they will be tested by a Melbourne side with renewed vigour.
Victory face a short turnaround after their 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Tuesday, plus they have a poor record in Western Australia with just one triumph in their past five visits to nib Stadium in all competitions.
But Victory coach Kevin Muscat will be thrilled with his team's improving form, with the Big V having knocked off title-contenders Brisbane Roar and Sydney in consecutive games.
The visitors' defence will also have reinforcements this week with Thomas Deng promoted to the squad, although his fitness is under a cloud as he suffered an ankle injury with the Olyroos earlier this month.
- There have been only five goals scored in the last three A-League clashes between these teams
- The Glory are undefeated in their last five matches against Victory, their longest ever streak against Melbourne
- Victory are looking to keep three consecutive clean sheets in the regular season for the first time since February 2011
- Muscat's men trumped Perth 2-0 to lift the FFA Cup in November
ROUTE TO GOAL
Many Glory fans will be disappointed Taggart - a former A-League Golden Boot winner - won't be allowed to play this season but Perth showed last week their options up front are increasing.
Chris Harold made it three goals in two matches with a brace against the Jets, while Spanish marquee player Diego Castro also struck twice to take his season tally to seven.
Returning striker Keogh, who hit the back of the net 12 times in the A-League last term, has yet to open his account in his second stint with Perth.
Don't be surprised if the Irishman breaks that duck against Victory, however, as he notched three goals against them in 2014-15.
The champions were Keogh's favourite opponent alongside Brisbane Roar.
While Victory had to settle for an own goal to overcome Sydney on Australia Day, there's little doubt Muscat's much-vaunted forward quartet are rediscovering their best form.
In particular, Kosta Barbarouses has been inspired over the past three matches.
With AFC Champions League spots up for grabs for Victory's foreign players, Barbarouses has scored two goals and notched two assists during his team's five-game unbeaten run.
The New Zealand international also played the penultimate pass before Jesse Makarounas' cross was turned into the net by Sydney centre-back Matt Jurman on Tuesday.
Besart Berisha remains the A-League's second-most prolific marksman this season with 11 goals, while the chemistry between him, Barbarouses, Gui Finkler and Fahid Ben Khalfallah appears to be on the improve.
It could be a worry for the Glory's defence, who have kept only two clean sheets this campaign.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Diego Castro. After his two-goal haul at Hunter Stadium, the attacking midfielder was labelled "the best player in the A-League" by Lowe.
Perth Glory: DLLDW
Melbourne Victory: DWDWW
Perth Glory 1-2 Victory