Preview: Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix

This match marks Brisbane's third outing in the space of a week and it will take a super effort to get three points against the out-of-sorts Phoenix.

Date: Sunday, February 17 2013 Kick-off: 5pm AEDT, 4pm local Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Head-to-head: Played: 17, Wins: Brisbane 10, Wellington 2, Draws: 5

Previous encounter: Brisbane 2-1 Wellington, January 1 2013 Form: Past five matches: Brisbane: LLDWL Wellington: LWDLL

The Game This match marks Brisbane's third outing in the space of a week and - with travel considered - it will take a super effort to get three points against the out-of-sorts Phoenix.

Mike Mulvey's men missed out on a spot in the AFC Champions League group stages, suffering a 3-0 penalty shootout loss to Buriram United in Thailand on Wednesday night, but in the Roar's favour is their record against the Phoenix.

The teams have met 17 times with Wellington winning just twice, while they have managed to collect just two of a possible 24 points at Suncorp Stadium.

Despite being well below their best this campaign, Brisbane are just three points behind sixth-placed Sydney with seven matches remaining.

Unavailable for Mulvey because of injury are Matt Smith and Henrique (both hip), while Ivan Franjic came off early in Thailand with suspected concussion. Wellington have won just one of their past seven but the fierce battle for finals places means they are only four points adrift of the top six.

A 2-1 loss to the Roar started their poor run and goals have been hard to come by, finding the net four times in those seven outings. A creative midfielder like Carlos Hernandez, who has signed a two-year deal with the club and will join in June, is needed for the Phoenix if they are to somehow clinch a spot in the top six.

The Big Issue Roar: Recovery will be all the Roar are focused on during the three days they have free between matches. Mulvey would love to see his men improve, particularly in the attacking third, but ensuring they have the legs to last 90 minutes is crucial, especially given the trip to Thailand.

Steven Lustica and James Meyer could be given more game time after coming off the bench in Thailand, while Jack Hingert should start if Franjic is unavailable.

Wellington: The question remains as to how Ricki Herbert will get his men scoring again. The Phoenix appear to have the firepower with the likes of Jeremy Brockie, Paul Ifill and Stein Huysegems all showing at times this season they are capable of finding the net.

The last of Belgian striker Huysegems' third goals for the Phoenix came in October last year and was his third goal in four matches for the club. A lack of creativity in midfield is evident with much left to teenage attacker Louis Fenton.

The Gamebreaker Besart Berisha: Like many of his teammates, the Albanian striker has been unable to recapture his best form this season but has a great scoring record against the Phoenix. In five matches against the New Zealand club, Berisha has netted four times.

If he can begin linking with Dutchman Stefan Nijland in the attacking third and Thomas Broich starts finding his best form, the Roar could look dangerous again.

Prediction: Brisbane 2-1 Wellington The Roar may be fatigued but should still be too good for the struggling Phoenix, especially at Suncorp Stadium. Wellington have conceded 27 goals in 10 away matches, of which they have won one, and struggle in Brisbane.

The hosts need a win and could be back in the top six by the end of the round and while they are no longer the unbeatable force of last season, they should still have too much class for Wellington.