Hyundai A-League preview: Roar v Phoenix

Roar have their gaze firmly on a top-three finish with Broich, Borrello, Maclaren and Co. in eye-catching form, but can Phoenix snap out of their slump and reignite their own slim finals hopes?

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Brisbane Roar FC v Wellington Phoenix

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: 4:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay

Fourth Official: Alex King

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Brisbane, ABC Radio Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 13.Jade NORTH, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk)g, 22.Thomas BROICH, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 25.Kye ROWLES, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 33.Joey KATEBIAN, 46.Cameron CRESTANI

**two to be omitted**

Thomas Kristensen

Ins: 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN (promoted), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 19.Jack HINGERT (returns from injury), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted), 21.Jamie YOUNG (promoted), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (promoted), 25.Kye ROWLES (promoted), 33.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)

Outs: 3.Luke DEVERE (calf – 4 weeks), 8.Jacob PEPPER (not selected), 11.Tommy OAR (not selected), 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (not selected), 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) (not selected), 50.Dane INGHAM (not selected)

Unavailable: 4.Daniel BOWLES (knee – season), 5.Corey BROWN (hamstring – 2 weeks)

Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13 Marco ROSSI, 15, James McGARRY, 17.Vince LIA, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Logan ROGERSON, 25.Sarpreet SINGH, 30.Oliver SAIL (gk), 99.Shane SMELTZ

**two to be omitted**

Defence: Andrew Durante (Phoenix)

Ins: 2.Jacob TRATT (returns from injury), 15.James McGARRY (promoted), 22.Andrew DURANTE (returns from suspension), 24.Logan ROGERSON (promoted), 30.Oliver SAIL (promoted)

Outs: 4.Roly BONEVACIA (omitted), 5.Ryan LOWRY (omitted), 19.Tom DOYLE (omitted)

Unavailable: 7.Gui FINKLER (paternity leave - 1 week), 10.Michael McGLINCHEY (knee injury – 1 to 2 weeks)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Brisbane Roar have been in-and-around the top four all season and will look at this as a match they must win to consolidate their charge towards second spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

But this challenge will be more about their physical condition rather than their quality.

Saturday after’s clash will be Roar’s eighth game in just 28 days as they juggle their Hyundai A-League commitments with the AFC Champions League.

John Aloisi has done a great job with his squad as they juggle both competitions, giving a host of youngsters an opportunity in the first team despite untimely injuries to key players (Corey Brown misses this one). 

And haven’t the likes of Caletti, Ingham, Crestani and D'Agostino shown they are up to the test.

Brisbane Roar players celebrate Manuel Arana's goal against Global FC in their ACL qualifier.

It will be interesting to see what the boss does with his starting side for this one, especially with a trip to Korea to consider next week.

But in a massive blow, central defender Luke DeVere will miss the next four weeks with a calf problem, also scuppering his hopes of a Caltex Socceroo re-call for March’s World Cup qualifiers.

Roar can draw on a sensational home record against the Kiwi side, losing just one of 14 matches against Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium.

While Brisbane has been resilient and hard to beat over the last month, Wellington has been totally the opposite.

Last week’s 5-1 loss at home against Melbourne City was their fourth defeat in their last five games, all but ending their finals hopes as the gloss wears off the Buckingham and Greenacre era.

Phoenix interim co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre on the training ground.
 

The immediate improvement we saw once new coaches took over has plateaued and the ease in which City strolled through their defence must sound huge alarm bells.

They do get skipper Andrew Durante back from suspension which should help but Roly Bonevacia, Ryan Lowry and Tom Doyle have all been dropped.

Phoenix must improve – and quickly – if they are any hope to stopping the confident, but weary, Roar.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League Round 21 stats preview

ROUTE TO GOAL

Roar left stars Maclaren and Broich on the bench in midweek with an eye on having them fresh and firing for this one.

Maclaren’s goals have been pivotal for Brisbane lately, with the Caltex Socceroo striker now with 11 for the campaign and clearly in form.

Broich, likewise, has been back to his flamboyant best since the turn of the year, with his two assists last weekend earning a spot in the Hyundai A-League TOTW for Round 20.

Thomas Broich

The form of Spaniard Manuel Arana has also caught the eye recently, with his performances helping overcome the loss of Dimitri Petratos to Korea.

Given Wellington’s defensive issues, Roar should get plenty of chances. Phoenix has conceded two goals in more in each of their last six games on the road.

Leading scorer Roy Krishna (nine goals) has overcome the knee injury which forced him off against City last weekend which is a boost for the visitors.

With McGlinchey and Finkler both missing, Shane Smeltz could also come back into the starting side to add punch at the point of their attack, while Kosta Barbarouses will hope to build on his classy goal last weekend (a cheeky triple nutmeg lighting up social media).

Wellington have struggled scoring goals all season but especially away from home, with just 10 goals from nine matches on their travels.

Only last-placed Adelaide United with five have managed less. Not great reading for the hopeful faithful back in Wellington. 

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Thomas Broich. The class 30-something German is reveling in this busy period across Australia and Asia with some eye-catching performances in the orange shirt.

FORM LINES (last five games)

Roar: WWDDD

Phoenix: LDLLL

PREDICTION

Brisbane Roar 3-1 Wellington Phoenix