Preview: Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Sydney FC and Perth Glory are each guaranteed a place in the Hyundai A-League finals series with two regular-season rounds remaining, but neither will be satisfied with anything less than maximum points on Sunday.
Date: Sunday February 7 Kick-off: 5pm (AEDT) Venue: Parramatta Stadium
TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1HD & 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is SBS Digital Radio 6.
Head-to-head: Played 14: Wins: Sydney FC 4, Perth Glory 4, Draws: 6
Previous meeting: Perth Glory 0, Sydney FC 0, Members Equity Stadium, Round 22, 10 January 2009
Past five matches: Sydney: Round 21: Sydney FC 1 , Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 22: Perth Glory 0, Sydney FC 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 23: Sydney FC 0, Gold Coast United 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 24: Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney FC 3, Energy Australia Stadium Round 25: Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium
Perth: Round 22: Perth Glory 0, Sydney FC 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 23: Melbourne Victory 6, Perth Glory 2, Etihad Stadium, Round 19: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 24: Perth Glory 2, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 25: Perth Glory 3, Central Coast Mariners 1, Members Equity Stadium
Analysis: Sydney FC and Perth Glory are each guaranteed a place in the Hyundai A-League finals series with two regular-season rounds remaining, but neither will be satisfied with anything less than maximum points on Sunday.
The Sky Blues have slipped to third place, two points behind Melbourne Victory and Gold Coast United, meaning they must take all three points against the Glory to keep their dream of a top-two finish and the all-important double chance in the post season alive.
Meanwhile, three consecutive wins have left the Glory well placed in fourth spot, two points clear of Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets, and six clear of seventh-placed Brisbane Roar.
But although David Mitchell's men are assured of a berth in the top six thanks to its vastly superior goal difference over Brisbane, a win this week would virtually assure them of a home fixture in Week 1 of the finals.
Having scored eight goals in their previous three outings, the Glory are entitled to enter Sunday's clash full of confidence, however, the loss of experienced midfielder Jacob Burns with a hamstring complaint is a major blow for the visitors.
Sydney has also had its fair share of injury blows in recent weeks with Mark Bridge (toe), Kofi Danning (knee), Matthew Jurman (foot) and Sebastian Ryall (knee) all confined to the sidelines for the club's first ever Hyundai A-League fixture at Parramatta Stadium.
The hosts are still well served in front of goal with Alex Brosque and John Aloisi both fully fit, however, the Sky Blues' ability to find the back of the net consistently is becoming a concern for coach Vitezslav Lavicka, with his side unable to score in four of its previous five matches.
But with so much at stake look for the Sky Blues to throw caution to the wind, and with Daniel McBreen in scintillating form for the Glory having scored four goals in three matches, this Round 26 clash promises to be a high-scoring thriller.
Sydney FC Squad: 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 3.Stephan KELLER, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 6.Karol KISEL, 7.Brendan GAN, 8.Stuart MUSIALIK, 9.John ALOISI, 10.Steve CORICA (c), 12.Shannon COLE, 14.Alex BROSQUE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 16.Chris PAYNE, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22.Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26 Hayden FOXE *one to be omitted
Out: Mark BRIDGE (Toe - 3 weeks)
Unavailable: Kofi DANNING (knee - season), Matthew JURMAN (foot - season), Sebastian RYALL (knee - 2 weeks)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Danny McBreen, 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 6.Chris COYNE, 11. Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Scott BULLOCH, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC, 28. Tommy AMPHLETT *two to be omitted
In: Wayne SRHOJ (returns from injury), Branko JELIC (promoted)
Out: Jacob BURNS (Hamstring - 1 week)
Unavailable: Viktor SIKORA (Thigh - 1 week), Jacob BURNS (Hamstring - 1 week)