What a start it’s been to life in Wellington for Mark Rudan.
The new-look Phoenix side are ticking along nicely under the tutelage of their new boss, and he’ll be demanding three more points against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, which kicks off at 5.35pm (AEDT).
Rudan’s side return to New Zealand after last Sunday’s scoreless draw with Brisbane Roar, a match that demonstrated a newfound resilience the former Sydney FC man has instilled in his players.
But they won’t have it all their own way against a Wanderers side still smarting from their Sydney Derby defeat in Round 2.
Markus Babbel will be banned from the touchline, but you can expect his team to come out all guns blazing.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Western Sydney Wanderers are undefeated in their last seven games against Wellington Phoenix (W5, D2), outscoring them by a combined eight goals to one across their last two meetings.
- Wellington Phoenix have failed to score a first-half goal in each of their last four games on home turf against Western Sydney Wanderers, conceding five first-half goals in that time.
- Wellington Phoenix are undefeated in their last three games (W2, D1), the last time they went longer without defeat was a four-game stretch in 2016/17 (W1, D3).
THEY SAID IT
I thought we finished the game [against Brisbane Roar in Round 2) extremely well.
Physically you're going to see a much fitter side and we're going to get stronger and better. And that's the great thing about this playing squad as well.
- Wellington Phoenix boss Mark Rudan
INS AND OUTS
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Mitch NICHOLS, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (C), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Dylan FOX (promoted) 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI (promoted)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Danijel NIZIC (gk), 4.Josh RISDON, 5.Brendan HAMILL (c), 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Ruon TONGYIK, 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUAS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Rashid MAHAZI, 24.Raul LLORENTE, 28.Roly BONEVACIA, 49.Abraham MAJOK
Ins: 7.Nick FITZGERALD (promoted), 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (promoted)
Unavailable: 19.Mark BRIDGE (injury – four weeks)
HOW TO WATCH
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 to see what happens at Westpac Stadium from 5:30pm (AEDT).
Make sure you’re there for Wellington’s second home game of the 2018/19 campaign. Book your ticket here.