Preview: Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix

Most experts have been waiting for the Roar juggernaut to click into gear and the recent win over Adelaide could be the catalyst to make it happen.

Date: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 Kick-off: 8.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm Local Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Head-to-head: Played: 16 - Brisbane 9, Wellington 2, Drawn: 5

Previous encounter: Wellington 1-1 Brisbane, October 21, 2012

Form: Past five matches: Roar: WLDLW Phoenix: WLLDW

The Game: Both these sides were given late Christmas gifts with Brisbane beating Adelaide on Boxing Day before the Phoenix came from behind to beat the Heart a day later. The challenge is now to get 2013 off to the perfect start with another victory.

The good news for both coaches is they have a fairly settled team to choose from with almost all their key players available. But the Phoenix have a horror record against the Roar, having never tasted success at Suncorp Stadium and with just two victories in 16 previous meetings.

The Big Issue Roar: Brisbane continue to create numerous chances in games but their strike rate leaves a lot to be desired. The Roar have managed just 15 goals in 13 games this season with only Perth Glory finding the back of the net less than the two-time champions.

If the Roar are to make the finals again they will need to start making the most of their chances. New coach Mike Mulvey has already hinted he will be after a striker when the transfer window opens in January and if he can find the right one then the Roar could become a serious contender again.

Phoenix: Wellington have improved their away form in recent seasons but just can't seem to get things right when they visit Suncorp Stadium. While their overall record against the Roar is far from desirable it's their performances at Brisbane's home ground that must be of great concern to Ricki Herbert.

After doing well in recent weeks to get back among top six calculations the last thing the Phoenix will want is another heavy Suncorp defeat to halt some of their momentum.

The game breaker Mitch Nichols: The classy midfielder looked unhappy and could hardly get into the side when Rado Vidosic was in charge but the appointment of Mulvey seems to have re-invigorated the 23-year-old.

Nichols is playing with a smile on his face again and he was Brisbane's best in the win over Adelaide on Boxing Day, setting up the only goal for Henrique. There's no doubt the Roar are a more dangerous team with Nichols in the midfield and Phoenix midfield pair of Manny Muscat and Vince Lia will need to win that battle for the visitors to end their Suncorp hoodoo.

Prediction: Roar 3-1 Phoenix Most experts have been waiting for the Roar juggernaut to click into gear throughout the opening months of the season and Wednesday night's win over the Reds might just be the catalyst to make it happen.

The Phoenix will pose a great challenge for Mulvey's troops but with the likes of Nichols, Thomas Broich and Henrique looking like they are approaching some form, the Roar should have too much firepower for the visitors in this one.