Match preview: Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers
Confidence will be sky-high in the Wellington Phoenix camp after their demolition of the Mariners last weekend, but they are set for a tougher test against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
The Phoenix swatted aside any concerns of potential pressure from the finals-chasing Jets to put eight goals past Central Coast, with Roy Krishna and Sarpreet Singh doing most of the damage.
The in-form Krishna’s double took his season tally to 14 goals, putting him joint-top in the Golden Boot standings with Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre.
The win took Mark Rudan’s side above Melbourne City and Adelaide United into the all-important top four.
While they have taken their last couple of home games away from Westpac Stadium, they return to the ‘Cake Tin’ for this one.
And Wellington has won four of their last five Hyundai A-League games at Westpac, losing only to Sydney FC in that time.
But the Wanderers did prevail in New Zealand earlier this season (back in Round 3) and they return to the same venue off the back of their best run of form all campaign.
Markus Babbel’s troops are undefeated in their last four games, including a 4-1 mauling of Brisbane Roar last Friday night.
This excellent run of results has kept Western Sydney’s faint finals hopes alive and for them the mission is deceptively simple: they have to keep winning to close the gap on the top six.
With all that in mind, this should be a cracking contest to start a ‘Super Sunday’ in the Hyundai A-League.
Key Opta stats
- Western Sydney Wanderers have scored a first-half goal in every one of their last nine Hyundai A-League games against Wellington Phoenix, conceding just twice in the same period.
- The Phoenix have scored six goals within the opening 15 minutes of games this season, the joint-most of any team.
- The Wanderers have won their last two Hyundai A-League games away from home. The last time they won more in succession was a three-game stretch in November 2015.
Ins and Outs
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 12.Antony GOLEC, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14. Alex RUFER, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIIOT, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR, 32.Gianni STENSNESS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 9. Nathan BURNS (promoted), 14. Alex RUFER (return from suspension), 27. Steven TAYLOR (promoted)
Outs: 18.Sarpreet SINGH (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable: 3.Justin GULLEY (knee injury - 1 week), 19.Tom DOYLE (knee injury - 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 3.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 5.Brendan HAMILL (c), 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Mitchell DUKE, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Rashid MAHAZI, 24.Raul LLORENTE, 27.Kwame YEBOAH, 28.Roly BONEVACIA, 33.Tate RUSSELL, 40.Nicholas SUMAN, 42.Andrea AGAMEMNONOS, 43.Adrian VALENTI **two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Nick FITZGERALD (promoted), 10.Alex BAUMJOHANN (promoted), 24.Raul LLORENTE (promoted), 40.Nicholas SUMAN (promoted), 42.Andrea AGAMEMNONOS (promoted), 43.Adrian VALENTI (promoted)
Outs: 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (international duty), 17.Keanu BACCUS (international duty), 49.Abraham MAJOK (international duty), 50.Jack GREENWOOD (not selected)
Unavailable: 4.Josh RISDON (injury – two weeks), 18.Marc TOKICH (injury – two weeks)
How to watch
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 to catch this clash which kicks off on Sunday at 5:00pm (AEDT). You can also subscribe to Kayo Sports.
CLICK HERE to ensure your seat at Westpac Stadium for this vital encounter.