Hyundai A-League preview: Glory v Wanderers

Western Sydney’s drought-breaking derby win has them back on track for the six but – in their third big game in a week - can they bounce back from a midweek ACL smashing against a confident Glory in Perth.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers FC

nib Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (10:00PM (AEDT))

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro

Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh

Assistant Referee 2: Josh Mannella

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 10.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport Pop Up (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Perth, ABC Radio Sydney, ABC Radio Canberra, ABC Radio WA/NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Hawkesbury Radio

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Striker: Andy Keogh - Glory

Ins: 3.Marc WARREN (promoted), 9.Andy KEOGH (returns from injury)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 18.Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 2 weeks)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS (c), 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.DIMAS, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS

**two to be omitted**

Dimas, Castro

Ins: 2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 7.Steven LUSTICA (promoted), 8.DIMAS (returns from suspension)

Outs: 15.Kearyn BACCUS (suspended – one match)

Unavailable: Jacob MELLING (back – indefinite)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

It’s the Hyundai A-League’s in-form side up against another coming off a drought-breaking derby win. A special Saturday night clash awaits. 

Yet again, Kenny Lowe has his team hitting their straps at just the right time of the season.

Glory were in a huge battle just to make the top six two months ago but are now eyeing off third spot after just one defeat in their last nine matches.

Glory striker Adam Taggart celebrates scoring his side's second equaliser against Brisbane on Saturday night.

They are just two points behind both City (third) and Roar (fourth) and – depending on their results earlier in the weekend – could leapfrog both with a win here.

And it seems a good bet given how well Lowe has them playing right now. Led by the mercurial Diego Castro, they are playing some beautiful football right now and the goals are flowing.

For the Wanderers, it’s been a mixed week. There was the massive high from their gritty 1-0 derby win over Sydney FC last weekend which suggested they are capable of doing something this season.

But the air was let out of the balloon on Tuesday as a much-changed side was beaten 4-0 in their ACL opener against Urawa.

They can’t afford to get to down on themselves though with every point crucial in the battle for the top six.

In fact, if the Wanderers can win this they’ll move just one point behind Glory on the ladder.

Brendon Santalab and Terry Antonis embrace following the Wanderers win in Saturday night's Sydney Derby.

And they have a decent record against Glory, unbeaten in the last five between the clubs, with both previous matches this season ending in draws.

Both sides are boosted by some key returns for this one, with striker Andy Keogh back in the Glory, while Wanderers skipper Dimas has been included after serving a one-game ban. The Spaniard is likely to come straight in for the suspended Kearyn Baccus.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League Round 21 stats preview

ROUTE TO GOAL

Are Glory emerging as the Hyundai A-League’s new entertainers?

It’s a fair question given how their attack has blown opposition defences to shreds in recent weeks.

Perth have scored 10 goals in their last three games, with only the league’s top two (Sydney FC 41 and Melbourne Victory 42) having scored more than Glory’s 38 this season.

Rhys Williams congratulates Diego Castro after he scores one of his two goals against the Reds.

While Johnny Warren Medallist Castro installed as the conductor, Adam Taggart is the one cashing in with plenty of goals of late.

His equaliser against Roar last weekend took him to 10 for the season from just 15 appearances. And he has shown a knack of pouncing early in each half, with seven of his goals scored in the opening 15 minutes of each half.

And what about Marinkovic? Forced to come off the bench for much of the last two months, the Serbian came in from the start against Roar and showed his class with a long-range stunner.

If he starts again, Nebo’s set-piece wizardry, clever passing and shooting will be a huge threat to the visitors.

The midweek ACL clash aside, the Wanderers have stiffened up their defence in recent weeks.

The combination of Cornthwaite and Aspro looks strong, while keeper Vedran Janjetovic’s composure and shot-stopping ability has been a feature.

But can they find the goals? While Santalab’s goals have saved them many times this season, it’s those behind him that hold the key on Saturday night.

Nichols had his best game of the season last weekend, while magician Martinez can win a match on his own.

Midfield: Mitch Nichols (Wanderers)

Perhaps the most important player for them in this one could be Antonis.

Rested midweek, his drive and creativity from a deeper midfield role was outstanding against the Sky Blues and if he’s that good again – releasing those in front of him on good areas – the Wanderers could find some joy.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Brendon Santalab. The tenacious striker was the Wanderers’ match-winner in the derby and his goals will be crucial to their top six hopes. He was rested in the ACL midweek so expect a big match from ‘Santa’.

Forward: Brendon Santalab (WSW)

FORM LINES (last five games)

Glory: WLWWD

Wanderers: WLWLW

PREDICTION

Perth Glory 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers