Preview: Perth Glory v Sydney FC

It's hard to tip either of these two sides with any great confidence given their inconsistent form of late and injuries problems, particularly in defence.

Date: Saturday, January 5, 2013 Kick-off: 9.45pm AEDT, 6.45pm local Venue: nib Stadium, Perth

Head-to-head: Played 22: Wins: Perth 4, Sydney 11, Draws: 7

Previous encounter: Sydney FC 2-1 Perth, October 27, 2012

Form: Past five matches: Perth: LWWDL Sydney FC: WLLWL

The Game It was a poor end to 2012 for both these sides with the Glory going down 1-0 to Central Coast while Sydney were outclassed by Adelaide 3-0 on New Year's Eve. But with a new year brings a fresh start and both these clubs could do with the three points in this one.

For the fifth-placed Glory it's a chance to cement their spot in the top six while the Sky Blues (last spot) are running out of time to make a charge for the finals.

The Glory have a bit of a crisis in defence with their two starting centre-backs Michael Thwaite (injured) and Bas van den Brink (suspended) both unavailable.

But that's nothing compared to the injury woes of Sydney whose medical staff have been working overtime during the festive period to try and get their stars back on the field.

The likes of Pascal Bosschaart, Adam Griffiths and Fabio are all out but there is some respite with Alessandro Del Piero, Jason Culina, Joel Chianese and Ali Abbas all expected to return for the trip west. When the two sides met earlier this season the Sky Blues came from a goal down at the break to win 2-1 after Steve Pantelidis was sent off early in the second half.

The Big Issue Perth: The Glory started the season as one of the competition favourites but are only just hanging onto a place in the top six at the moment. Ian Ferguson's troops have been horribly inconsistent so far this campaign, with an impressive win too often followed up by a poor performance.

If the Glory can fix this problem they'll be contenders again but if not they'll be simply making up the numbers for the rest of the season.

Sydney: The Sky Blues have endured a horror injury toll this season and while it can't be totally to blame for their poor season it certainly hasn't helped.

With the halfway point of the season gone, Sydney are running out of time to get into the finals picture and unless they can start getting a few more of their stars back on the field then they may as well start planning for 2013/14.

The Gamebreaker Shane Smeltz: The New Zealand international has been well below his goal-scoring best so far this season but Smeltz is very rarely kept quiet for too long. This could spell bad news for the Sky Blues on Saturday night.

There is no better finisher in the A-League than Smeltz on his day and with the Sky Blues potentially fielding a below strength defence, this could be the day the former Gold Coast man rediscovers his mojo.

Prediction: Perth 3-2 Sydney It's hard to tip either of these two sides with any great confidence given their inconsistent form of late and injuries problems, particularly in defence. For that reason though there should be a few goals in this one.

The Glory played all over the Sky Blues when they met at ANZ Stadium but paid the price for not taking their chances, with Pantelidis' dismissal turning the game on its head. If the home side can produce a similar effort this time, they should be too strong.