Preview: Gold Coast United v Perth Glory
The second edition of the 'Iron-Ore' Cup between these two sides promises to be a cracker as Gold Coast United and Perth Glory, sitting second and third on the Hyundai A-League table respectively, fight it out for top spot on Sunday afternoon.
Date: Sunday October 18 Kick-off: 4:00pm AEST, 2:00pm AWST Venue: Skilled Park, Robina TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 6PR (Perth) 882AM. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.
Head-to-head Played 1: Draws: 1
Previous meeting Perth Glory 2, Gold Coast United 2, ME Bank Stadium, Round 6, September 2009
Past five matches: Gold Coast United: Round 6: Perth Glory 2, Gold Coast United 2, ME Bank Stadium Round 7: Central Coast Mariners 3, Gold Coast United 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 8: Gold Coast United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Skilled Park Round 9: Gold Coast United 0, Wellington Phoenix 0, Skilled Park Round 10: Brisbane Roar 0, Gold Coast United 1, Suncorp Stadium
Perth Glory: Round 6: Perth Glory 2, Gold Coast United 2, ME Bank Stadium Round 7: Brisbane Roar 2, Perth Glory 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 8: Newcastle Jets 0, Perth Glory 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Perth Glory 1, North Queensland Fury 1, ME Bank Stadium Round 10: Perth Glory 1, Adelaide United 0, ME Bank Stadium
Analysis: The second edition of the 'Iron-Ore' Cup between these two sides promises to be a cracker as Gold Coast United and Perth Glory, sitting second and third on the Hyundai A-League table respectively, fight it out for top spot on Sunday afternoon.
The last time these sides met in Round 6 it was a tough call seeing who was more competitive, the teams or their owners. Both Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer and his Perth counterpart Tony Sage have made their money in mining - hence the fixture's name - but their business rivalry was soon overtaken by a thrilling contest between their teams at ME Bank Stadium as the Glory took a two-goal lead in the first half only to see United return fire after half-time, with star striker Shane Smeltz scoring the equaliser in the very last minute.
But for all the thrills and spills in that game, top spot wasn't up for grabs. This time it is, though, after top-of-the-table Sydney's unexpected 2-1 loss to Adelaide on Friday night. Both these clubs are now just two points behind the Sky Blues and a win on Sunday for either team, regardless of other results, will see them climb top of the heap.
United will go in as slight favourites however, despite having won just once in the last five games. Not only is it playing at home but coach Miron Bleiberg has as close to a full team to pick as he's likely to get. Lightning left-back Adama Traore may be missing for the next two months through injury, but Bleiberg has all his junior Qantas Socceroos available after the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt finished, while star skipper Jason Culina and Shane Smeltz are also back from national duty. Instrumental midfielder Zenon Caravella also has a game under his belt after his return from injury while experienced forward Joel Porter is free of injury and has found his goal-scoring touch, having netted the only goal in last week's win over bitter rival Brisbane.
Regardless of how results have panned out for United over the last five weeks, they can be partly attributed to all the selection disruptions caused by outside events. That being said, the Glory took on a full-strength Gold Coast last time they played and came within minutes of a famous win. This time around, Perth enters this game on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, something the Glory hasn't achieved since November 2005. They've also won three of their last four matches against Brisbane, Newcastle and Adelaide, although the form isn't quite as convincing as it sounds.
Indeed, Perth has ridden its lack against the Reds and Jets and should have done much better than a 1-1 draw against North Queensland in Round 9 when the Fury played the entire second half with 10 men. Coach Dave Mitchell may have regained skipper Jacob Burns, but he's also lost instrumental central defender Andy Todd to a two-match suspension, a blow that could have serious repercussion for the Glory's style of play and its defensive resolve. Basically, when the Glory are in trouble trying to bust through the middle, they pass it back to Todd and the former Premier League skipper's brilliant distribution gets them out of trouble as he sets up the next move. The club won't have that luxury for the next fortnight and will have to rely on its midfield to take the initiative and attack. Mitchell, though, is confident he has the depth to overcome Todd's loss as he more than likely brings Jamie Coyne into central defence to combine with his brother Chris, with Scott Neville slotting in at right-back. But Mitchell will still be sweating on the fitness of marquee man Mile Sterjovski, who's only trained sparingly this week after taking a knock against Adelaide. Whether the Glory can cover the possible loss of both Todd and Sterjovski remains to be seen.
Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.ROBSON, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 11.MILSON, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 24.ANDERSON, 26.Golgol MEBRAHTU (yth), 27.Mark BYRNES, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk)
*two to be omitted*
In: Shane SMELTZ (return from international duty), Jason CULINA (return from international duty), Mark BYRNES (promoted)
Out: Adama TRAORE (knee injury - 8 weeks)
Unavailable: JEFFERSON (knee injury - 2 weeks), 4.Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury - 7 weeks), 21.Richard GREER (groin injury - 4 weeks)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Scott BULLOCH, 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC
*one to be omitted
In: Jacob BURNS (return from suspension), Scott BULLOCH (promoted)
Out: Andy TODD (suspended - 2 weeks)
Unavailable: Jimmy DOWNEY (knee - 3 weeks), Jamie HARNWELL (knee - 6 weeks), Anthony SKORICH (foot - 1 week)