Hyundai A-League preview: Glory v Wanderers

The Hyundai A-League leaders will aim for an eighth straight victory when they travel to Perth Glory. But the hosts are suddenly back in form and surging up the table.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers FC

nib Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: 6:40 PM (Local) (9:40 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay

Fourth Official: David Bruce

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)

#PERvWSW

Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, ABC Local Radio WA, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Perth Glory squad:  1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA (c), 12.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Hagi GLIGOR, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Jamal REINERS, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS

**two to be omitted**

Jamal Reiners and Diego Castro celebrate combining for Glory's decisive goal against Victory.

Ins:  5.Antony Golec (promoted), 15.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted)

Outs:  Nil

Unavailable:  6.Dino DJULBIC (ankle – 6 weeks), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA (quad – 2 weeks), 20.Guyon FERNANDEZ (hamstring – 2 weeks)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad:  1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 9.Federico PIOVACCARI, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS

**two to be omitted**

Federico Piovaccari celebrates after scoring his first goal for the Wanderers.

Ins:  9.Federico PIOVACCARI (promoted), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted)

Outs:  Nil

Unavailable:  Nil

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Only a week ago, Perth Glory looked to be a non-factor in 2015-16.

After two wins in a row, however, Kenny Lowe's men are just four points outside the top six.

If Lowe can get some of his more experienced players back - the likes of Dino Djulbic and Sidnei - plus open an import spot for last season's leading scorer Andy Keogh, Glory could make a nuisance of themselves in the finals.

Perth stunned Melbourne Victory 1-0 in a catch-up game on Wednesday but will have to take another step up to challenge Western Sydney Wanderers.

Tony Popovic's Wanderers are in the midst of another impressive winning streak.

Popovic led Western Sydney to 10 consecutive victories in the club's maiden A-League season, while this term they have strung seven together ahead of their trip to Western Australia.

The Wanderers have brought back marquee striker Federico Piovaccari to face Glory, with doubts remaining about Mark Bridge's groin.

Bridge has scored in his past four matches.

Mark Bridge celebrates after scoring the opener against Melbourne Victory.

OPTA DATA KEY STATS

Perth have won three of their past four games against Western Sydney.

The Wanderers have outscored opponents 14-3 during their winning streak.

Western Sydney have conceded 177 fouls this season - level with Central Coast Mariners and move than the other eight A-League clubs.

Glory has conceded more penalties (3) than any other team this season.

 

ROUTE TO GOAL

Popovic may be forced to rejig the forward set-up that has seen the Wanderers overcome title rivals the past two weeks.

Bridge has led the line against Victory and Brisbane Roar, with Mitch Nichols, Romeo Castelen and Dario Vidosic providing support.

But with Western Sydney managing a groin injury that Bridge is carrying, Popovic may be tempted to rest the striker rather than take him across the country and back.

Piovaccari would be the obvious replacement, while Brendon Santalab could also start at the point of the attack for the Wanderers.

But it is Castelen, who Glory should be most concerned about - the Dutchman was man of the match against Victory last week, teeing up Bridge for the first goal and scoring the second himself.

Lowe's makeshift front three of Jamal Reiners, Chris Harold and Richard Garcia did a good job on Wednesday, with the 17-year-old Reiners teeing up Diego Castro for the winning goal.

Diego Castro celebrates with Jamal Reiners after scoring against Victory.

But can they do the job again against Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Co.?

Castro may return to Perth's starting XI against Western Sydney after Nebojsa Marinkovic went off with a hamstring twinge against Victory, and the Spaniard was inspired as he led Glory to three points mid-week.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Romeo Castelen. It has taken the former Feyenoord and Hamburg winger some time to settle in the A-League but the 32-year-old produced one of the best individual performances of the season last week in the win over Victory.

FORM LINES

Perth Glory: DLLWW

Western Sydney Wanderers: WWWWW

PREDICTION

Perth Glory 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers