The message for Perth Glory is clear: beat Wellington Phoenix and live to fight another day. Lose, and their top-six chances will be extinguished.
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2013 Kick-off: 19:00 AEDT Venue: nib Stadium
Head-to-Head Played: 19 - Wins: Perth 7, Wellington 9, Draws: 3
Previous encounter Wellington 1-0 Perth Glory, 2 February, 2013
Past five matches: Perth: WWLWL Wellington: LWLDL
The Game The message for Perth Glory is clear: Win against Wellington Phoenix and live to fight another day. Lose, and their top-six chances will effectively be extinguished.
Nothing less than all three points will suffice for last season's grand final runners up as they travel to the Parramatta Stadium to tackle a rock-bottom Phoenix outfit simply playing for pride.
Alistair Edwards' troops secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Newcastle Jets last Friday to ensure they remained in contention for the top-six playoff spots.
They have collected nine points from a possible 12 in their last four matches and their recent impressive form has largely been the catalyst for their revival under interim coach Edwards.
The Phoenix however, are the only team to have bowed out from the top six playoff race as a 2-1 loss to high-fliers Western Sydney Wanderers extinguished any slim hopes of sneaking through.
Nevertheless, Glory have yet to secure a win against the Phoenix this season with both sides playing out a 1-1 draw in the first meeting before Phoenix snatched all three points in February's clash.
The Big Issue Glory: The Western Australian outfit have won three of their last four matches, plundering wins against the likes of the Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets. Their recent encouraging run of form has propelled them to eighth spot in the standings and they will be eager to heap more misery on a deflated Phoenix side. Glory will have central defender Steve Pantelidis back in the squad after his recovery from injury.
Wellington: Former coach Ricki Herbert's resignation on 26 February has culminated in the New Zealand outfit collecting just one win from three matches. Interim coach Chris Greenacre has tried his best to steer the ship through to the end of the season but constant speculation over the identity of the new manager has not helped matters.
His preparations for Sunday's meeting have been compounded by news that Tyler Boyd and Louis Fenton will be away on international duty. However, Belgian forward Stein Huysegems returns from suspension and is in contention for a starting berth.
The Gamebreaker Danny Vukovic: Glory goalkeeper Vukovic has enjoyed a rich vein of form in recent weeks and his top-level reflex saves against the Newcastle Jets ensured his side came away with all three points. Coach Edwards has already hailed the importance of his shot stopper and Vukovic will be relied upon over the next few matches to maintain his sterling form and steer Glory to a play-off spot.
Prediction: Glory 2-0 Phoenix Glory will be relishing this meeting against a Phoenix outfit who have virtually nothing left to play for and will attack from the first whistle in order to secure a handsome victory. With tricky fixtures against Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United still to come, Glory will be aiming for nothing less than three points.