Preview: Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory

The last encounter between these teams was tinged with controversy. This time around it's all about a place in the A-League's top six.

Date: Sunday, 22 January 2011 Kick-off: 4:30pm (AWST), 7:30pm (AEDT) Venue: nib Stadium

Head-to-head Played 19: Wins: Perth Glory 7, Melbourne Victory 7, Draws: 5

Previous encounter: Melbourne Victory 2, Perth Glory 2, Etihad Stadium, November 2011

History: Both these sides have played out several entertaining encounters but they're last clash was a cracker at Etihad Stadium.

Thanks to some overly officious officiating Glory found themselves 2-0 down with just 10 men on the park after Liam Miller was dismissed. It looked like a caning was on the cards, but Perth rallied and galvanised by the injustice of seeing Archie Thompson receive one of the dodgiest penalties this competition's seen, they pulled one back through an exceptional Andrezinho free kick before Shane Smeltz levelled at the death.

Smeltz could have even won it for Glory during injury time but 2-2 was a fair result, although not for former Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic, who was well on truly on the downward spiral by then.

Form: Past five matches: Perth Glory: DDWWD Melbourne Victory: LLLWD

The Glory are going through their best patch of form this season, having made it five matches unbeaten through their 1-1 draw with Sydney on Wednesday night. What will be more pleasing for coach Ian Ferguson is the fact that four of those games have been on the road.

Victory, meanwhile, are trying to get their groove back under new boss Jim Magilton. They certainly had their chances in a 1-1 draw with Adelaide last week, but the same old problem emerged, where they just couldn't claim maximum points from a game they should have won.

Match Committee: Ian Ferguson is facing more tough selection decisions as he looks to overcome an injury crisis in defence.

Bas van den Brink was forced out of the game after just 17 minutes against Sydney FC with a corked leg and could miss this one. The problem for Ferguson is that his replacement, Josh Mitchell, may not be ready after missing the last two games with a knee injury, possibly forcing Ferguson to use midfielders Steve Pantelidis and Jacob Burns as makeshift central defenders once again.

Travis Dodd is also likely to miss this match with an abdominal strain, while regular defenders Chris Coyne and Scott Neville are long-term casualties.

Victory regained skipper Adrian Leijer for last week's game against Adelaide but Billy Celeski (groin) and Tom Pondeljak (back) may be still in some doubt, along with long-term injury absentee Matthew Kemp.

Goalkeeper Tando Velaphi is also back in full training after suffering a broken leg during the pre-season, but whether he can push Ante Covic out of goal remains to be seen.

Danger men: Evan Berger - Chances are Berger will come on as a substitute once again for Glory, but the former Victory player is still making an impact with his speed and willingness to make the contest late in the game.

Danny Allsopp - Although Archie Thompson and Harry Kewell stole the show, Allsopp produced a hatful of chances against Adelaide and came agonisingly close to scoring twice. If he maintains that form against a threadbare Perth defence, he could be particularly dangerous.

At the end of the day…

In terms of ladder positions, this is shaping as a big match for both sides. Glory's five-match unbeaten run sees them climb from second-last in December into fifth. Considering they've done this through trips to Newcastle, New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney, along with a gripping 3-3 home draw with Brisbane, speaks volumes about the fight in this Glory side.

Ferguson, though, will be keen to extend the run now that he has his players back at home and a victory in this game could really consolidate his side's position in the top six, especially as seventh-placed Victory are one of the sides threatening from below.

However, it certainly won't be easy for a tired and sore Glory side, who are struggling to cope with defensive injuries.

happily for them Dean Heffernan should be available to play after his botched Chinese loan.

Victory on the other hand will be particularly fresh after a nine-day break compared to Perth's four and will be gunning to take the form they showed for an hour against Adelaide into this encounter.

With Melbourne's forwards up and firing, they present a very serious danger to Glory's back four, meaning plenty of defensive work will be needed further up the ground. Victory will also been keen to get a result as well, as they go some way for atoning for that last 2-2 draw, a game which drew a substantial amount of heat down on the club. This looks like being another cracker, but if Glory hold on for a point, it will be a seriously big result for this club.