Hyundai A-League preview: Phoenix v Glory

​The third edition of the 2015/16 “Distance Derby” plays out in Wellington on Sunday. Can Perth keep their amazing late-season surge going, or will the home side continue their eye-catching form from last week in Sydney?

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MATCH DETAILS

Sunday 20 March 2016

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 5PM (Local) (3PM (AEDT))

Referee: Ben Williams

Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount

Assistant Referee 2: Mark Rule

Fourth Official: Matthew Conger

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, ABC Local Radio WA, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Radio Sport (NZ) online and via the I-Heart Radio app.

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

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

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Justin GULLEY, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 26.Hamish WATSON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 11.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted), 17.Vince LIA (returns from injury)

Vince Lia will play his 150th game for Wellington Phoenix this weekend.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 14.Alex RUFER (broken leg – season), 21.Roy KRISHNA (ankle – 10-12 weeks)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Richard GARCIA, 12.Jerrad TYSON (GK), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Kosta PETRATOS, 23.Krisztian VADOCZ, 24.Jamal REINERS, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 13.Diogo FERREIRA (promoted), 29.Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted)

Chris Harold and Aryn Williams celebrate a goal in Glory's 6-1 win over Newcastle.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite), 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (hamstring – 1 week)

#WELvPER

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Glory’s rise from also-rans to rusted-on playoff participants has been remarkable. 

In mid-January they were ninth with a paltry 13 points from their first 15 games. Since then, they’ve won seven of their last eight matches, leap-frogging both of last year’s grand finalists to sit comfortably in fifth spot.

Glory players celebrate a goal in their 4-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.

Phoenix know their finals chances have gone, but they can have a say in the make-up of the top six with all four of their remaining opponents currently in the playoff spots. 

Ernie Merrick’s men have shown enough to suggest that on their day, they can beat anyone; in fact, they’ve won matches against every team above them this season.

OPTA DATA

- Perth Glory have won in Wellington just three times from 14 attempts, but two of those occasions have come in their last two trips there.

- After victory against Sydney FC in Round 23 the Phoenix will be hunting for back-to-back wins for the first time since Round 3 this season.

- Wellington have conceded 21 goals in the last nine A-League games (2.3 goals per game), with no clean sheets.

- 17.4% of Perth Glory’s total passes (1,435 of 8,249) have been into the final third, the highest percentage of any team in the competition.

ROUTE TO GOAL

After a barren mid-season spell, the Phoenix have started finding the net more regularly, with twelve goals in their last five outings. Hamish Watson has added physicality in the front third alongside Blake Powell and with Michael McGlinchey providing real creativity on the left flank and Roly Bonevacia his usual dangerous self in attacking midfield, Wellington are starting to look like the free-scoring side of last season.

Wellington players celebrate after Roly Bonevacia made it 3-0 inside the first half.

Glory have scored 25 goals in their last eight matches and Andy Keogh’s return has undoubtedly been a major factor in their resurgence. The Irish marksman has scored six goals in the last five games, striking up potent combinations with Diego Castro and Chris Harold, both of who were also on the scoresheet last week. 

Josh Risdon’s raids from right-back have been both eye-catching and profitable.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

The Phoenix continued their recent recruitment drive, with six players re-committing to the club on Wednesday including Spanish midfielder Alex Rodriguez and young central defender Dylan Fox.

FORM LINES

Wellington Phoenix: WLWLW

Perth Glory: WWLWW

PREDICTION

Wellington Phoenix 2 Perth Glory 2