Sydney are chasing three wins on the trot for the first time since 2009 but have lost both games to Wellington this season.
Date: Saturday, February 25 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm NZ Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Head-to-head Played 15: Wins: Sydney FC 8, Wellington 6, Draws: 1
Previous encounter Wellington 4, Sydney 2, January 4, 2012
History: Sydney has enjoyed the better of this clash in the past but it's the Phoenix who have all the bragging rights this season. Ricki Herbert's side have won both previous matches in 2011-12, though it should be noted that both of those matches were played in New Zealand, including the 4-2 thrashing in January. Despite going behind to an early Brett Emerton penalty, the Phoenix totally out-played the Sky Blues and won with goals from Daniel, Dani Sanchez, Ben Sigmund and Paul Ifill.
Form: Past five matches: Sydney FC: WDLWW Wellington: WWWLL
Sydney look to be hitting their straps just at the right time. The Sky Blues have lost just once in their last five matches and have jumped back into the top six thanks to back-to-back wins. In their most recent outing they withstood a second half onslaught from Adelaide to come away from Hindmarsh Stadium with a valuable 2-1 victory thanks to goals from youngsters Joel Chianese and Mitch Mallia.
The same can't be said about Wellington with the Kiwis' season seemingly heading the other way after two straight defeats. But it might be premature to say they are losing form with those defeat coming at the hands of the top two sides Central Coast and Brisbane. Lose again though and it might be something a little more serious.
Match Committee: Sydney will be hopeful of getting Slovak midfielder Karol Kisel back after he missed the Reds win with a groin injury. Seb Ryall, Terry Antonis (both hamstring) and Mark Bridge (ankle) are unlikely to be fit while Dimitri Petratos should be available again after Australian under-23 duty.
Mixed news for the Phoenix with skipper Andrew Durante and midfielder Tim Brown both back from suspension but they have lost crafty midfielder Daniel with an ankle injury. The foot problem is likely to keep the Brazilian on the sidelines for at least three weeks.
Danger men: Joel Chianese - He's only started two A-League games but Chianese is already looming as an X-Factor in Sydney-s finals hopes. The youngster has pace to burn - something the Sky Blues have lacked for most of the season - and his goal against Adelaide shows he-s quite a handy finisher too.
Paul Ifill - The Barbadian was quiet in the loss to the Mariners last weekend which means Sydney should be on high alert. Ifill rarely has two bad games in a row and seems to save his best for games against the Sky Blues. Has scored in both encounters between the two sides this season.
At the end of the day… Looking at their most recent results a Sydney win looks the most likely result here. The Sky Blues are on the rise with back-to-back wins while the Phoenix are heading the other way with two straight defeats. But current form only tells half the story in this one.
Sydney's home form has been average at best and despite winning their last match at the SFS - against Perth a fortnight ago - Vitezslav Lavicka's side have still only won three times at Moore Park this campaign. They are also chasing three wins on the trot for the first time since 2009. But they will be high on confidence and the excitement and confidence of youngsters Chianese and Mallia seems to be flowing through the side. There is also the added incentive of drawing level on points with the fourth-placed Phoenix with victory here.
Wellington though will be desperate to stop the rot. Results haven-t been there lately and just like winning can become a habit when on a roll, so can losing if you let it get too far out of control. There's no need to panic just yet for Ricki Herbert's side but the pressure will build with another loss here. Despite some key returns for the visitors, Sydney seemed to have turned the corner since the 5-2 loss to Newcastle a few weeks back and they should be too strong for the Kiwis.