Preview: Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Whether it's the fine weather, the lack of late-night shopping or the fact beers come in pints, Melbourne just can't seem to get its head around travelling to Perth in recent years.
Date: Sunday November 1 Kick-off: 4:00pm AWST, 7:00pm AEDT Venue: ME Bank Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 6PR (Perth) 882AM. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Head-to-head 13 Hyundai A-League meetings: Perth - 5 wins, Melbourne - 4 wins, Draws - 4.
Previous Meeting Perth Glory 2, Melbourne Victory 1, ME Bank Stadium, Round 4, August 2009
Last five rounds: Perth Glory: 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 Round 11: Gold Coast United 2, Perth Glory 1, Skilled Park Round 12: North Queensland Fury 2, Perth Glory 1, Dairy Farmer's Stadium
Melbourne Victory: Round 8: Gold Coast United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Skilled Park Round 9: Melbourne Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Etihad Stadium Round 10: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 3, Etihad Stadium Round 11: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 12: Melbourne Victory 3, Adelaide United 1, Etihad Stadium
Analysis: Whether it's the fine weather, the lack of late-night shopping or the fact beers come in pints, Melbourne just can't seem to get its head around travelling to Perth in recent years. But Victory coach Ernie Merrick is calling on his players to break their psychological hoodoo about travelling west as the Glory attempt to get their own winning mojo back after two straight losses.
There's no denying, the Glory have a great record against Melbourne at ME Bank Stadium. In a curious quirk of the draw, four of the last five matches between these sides have been played in Perth and the Glory has chalked up four wins. The one time Perth travelled to Etihad Stadium in September 2008, the Glory were on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing that could have been substantially worse. That result proved one of the lowest points in the club's history, leading to Jamie Coyne almost losing his captaincy and coach Dave Mitchell almost being sacked. But the Glory used it as a galvanising point to improve on its 2008-09 season from then on, earmarking the two games against Melbourne at home as chances to atone, which they did with fine wins.
The trend continued into this season when Perth enjoyed a 2-1 win over Melbourne in Round 4, although the Western Australians were fortunate not to concede the game as the Victory controlled it and were unlucky to lose. Melbourne come into Sunday's clash in better form than earlier this season, having won five of the last six matches to sit second on the table, and top spot is within touching distance if other results fall its way. The Victory also have a brilliant away record this campaign, standing at, five wins from six matches, the only aberration occurring against the Glory.
Perth coach Dave Mitchell is more than aware his club needs to get some winning momentum back after consecutive 2-1 losses to Gold Coast and North Queensland. The Glory were unlucky to have lost to United but some defensive frailties were exposed by the Fury. Perth's back four has been boosted by the return of cool head Andy Todd from suspension while Mile Sterjovski has been included, despite struggling with an ankle injury. If Sterjovski doesn't come up, Mitchell may have an issue on the left as Dutchman Victor Sikora will miss the next fortnight with a hamstring injury, forcing the coach to rely on the promising but inexperienced Todd Howarth and Andrija Jukic against Melbourne.
Victory coach Ernie Merrick has made just one change himself, bringing in the experienced Rody Vargas for Thai defender Surat Sukha, who's injured his hamstring. Having suffered through a poor injury run, a good portion of the Melbourne side won't have experienced travelling to Perth before and as a result the psychological hoodoo may not apply. The coach will therefore look to the lightening Mate Dugandzic to inspire after scoring twice last week against Adelaide. But for the ones afflicted by the Nullabor curse, like Kevin Muscat, Vargas, Carlos Hernandez and Archie Thompson they'll also be determined to start squaring the recent ledger against the Glory.
Hernandez, though, is shaping as the pivotal player. If Perth concedes free kicks thirty metres out, they could be crucified by the Costa Rican dead ball specialist. But Hernandez will likely be closely marked by Glory skipper Jacob Burns and his lack of pace could still be exploited by the in-form Wayne Srhoj, while the Victory are all too aware of Branko Jelic's lethal touch up front as well.
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 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: Mile STERJOVSKI (return from injury), Andy TODD (return from suspension)
Out: Victor SIKORA (hamstring - 3 weeks)
Unavailable: Jimmy DOWNEY (knee - 2 weeks), Brent GRIFFITHS (hamstring - 5 weeks), Jamie HARNWELL (knee - 5 weeks)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Nathan ELASI, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27.Sutee SUKSOMKIT
In: Rodrigo VARGAS (return from injury)
Out: Surat SUKHA (hamstring - TBC)
Unavailable: Marvin ANGULO (pending registration), Evan BERGER (thigh - 1 week), Billy CELESKI (knee - season), Robbie KRUSE (hamstring - 1 week), Steven PACE (calf - 1 week), Tom PONDELJAK (calf - 3-5 weeks), Nick WARD (infection - 1 week)