Hyundai A-League preview: Phoenix v Roar

A severely depleted Wellington Phoenix host league-leading Brisbane Roar in New Zealand’s capital. Is there enough depth in Ernie Merrick’s squad to prevent the Queenslanders notching a club record-equaling fifth straight Hyundai A-League victory?

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Stephen Lucas

Assistant Referee 1: Glen Lochrie

Assistant Referee 2: Simon Lount

Fourth Official: Alex King

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 612 ABC Brisbane, ABC Local Radio Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Radio Sport NZ (nationwide) and via I-Heart Radio.

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

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 3.Justin GULLEY, 5.Troy DANASKOS, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Jeffery SARPONG, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 14.Albert RIERA, 15.James McGARRY, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Logan ROGERSON, 25.Tamupiwa DIMAIRO, 28.Joel STEVENS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 7.Jeffery SARPONG (returns from injury), 14.Albert RIERA (returns from suspension), 15.James McGARRY (promoted), 24.Logan ROGERSON (promoted), 25.Tamupiwa DIMAIRO (promoted), 28.Joel STEVENS (promoted)

Andrew Hoole fights for the ball with Phoenix midfielder Albert Riera.

Outs: 2.Manny MUSCAT (suspended – 2 matches), 4.Roly BONEVACIA (suspended), 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ (suspended), 21.Roy KRISHNA (ankle)

Unavailable: 14.Alex RUFER (broken tibia – season), 16.Louis FENTON (ankle – 2 weeks), 18.Ben SIGMUND (hamstring – 1 week)

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Jerome POLENZ, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 11.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Javier HERVAS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (GK), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 36.Andre JANNESE (GK)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Corey BROWN (promoted), 6.Jerome POLENZ (promoted), 8.Steven LUSTICA (return from injury), 16.Devante CLUT (promoted), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted)

Steve Lustica netted a hat-trick for the Roar against the PS4 NPL All-Stars.

Outs: 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 15.James DONACHIE, 28.Brandon BORRELLO (all on Olyroos duty)

Unavailable: Nil

#WELvBRI

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

In the nine-year history of Wellington Phoenix, it’s difficult to remember a time when so many front-line players were unavailable. 

Suspended trio Manny Muscat, Roly Bonevacia and Alex Rodriguez are joined on the sidelines by the injured Roy Krishna, Ben Sigmund, Jeffrey Sarpong, Louis Fenton and Alex Rufer.

Meantime, Brisbane Roar are flying under John Aloisi, having won their last four matches to move to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder. While missing a couple of players themselves to Olyroos duty (namely goal-machine Jamie Maclaren), Roar still present an imposing challenge as they look to extend their winning streak. 

Henrique

This could be an exercise in damage-control for the home-side.

OPTA DATA

- Roar have failed to score in just two of their 26 A-League games against the Phoenix.

- Wellington Phoenix are undefeated in their last four home fixtures (W3, D1).

- Thomas Broich has contributed five assists this season, the second most of any player, behind Aaron Mooy (7).

- The scorer of the first goal in both games between these two this season has lost the match.

ROUTE TO GOAL

The Phoenix have scored just six goals in their last seven matches, half of which have come from Roy Krishna. 

In his absence, and without Roly Bonevacia to provide thrust from midfield, the responsibility for goals will fall on Michael McGlinchey and what is likely to be a front two of Blake Powell and Kwabena Appiah, who have started just three games between them all season.

Blake Powell on the ball against the Reds.

Brisbane are without their two leading goalscorers with Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Borrello away with the Olyroos, paving the way for popular Brazilian Henrique to make just his fourth start of the campaign and Jean Carlos Solorzano his first. 

With Dimitri Petratos, Thomas Broich and Matt McKay all in excellent form, Roar will still pose a significant threat to what is likely to be an inexperienced Phoenix rearguard.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Having played every minute of the season so far, Phoenix defender Manny Muscat will sit out the next two A-League matches after his clash with Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan on New Year’s Eve in Gosford.

FORM LINES

Wellington Phoenix: WLDLL

Brisbane Roar: LWWWW

PREDICTION

Wellington Phoenix 1 Brisbane Roar 3