Preview: Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Wellington could keep its charge for the finals alive and officially end Sydney's quest for the post-season by completing a clean sweep over the Sky Blues in this match. The Phoenix are just one point out of the top four and a win here and anything less than a win for Queensland against Central Coast and Ricki Herbert's men would be inside the top
Date: Sunday January 11 Kick-off: 6:00pm AEDT Venue: Sydney Football Stadium,
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 5 Hyundai A-League meetings: Sydney FC - 1 win, Wellington Phoenix 3 wins, Draws - 1.
Previous meeting Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 11, November 2008
Past Five Games Sydney FC: Round 14: Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney FC 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 15: Central Coast 2, Sydney FC 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 16: Sydney FC 2, Perth Glory 3, Sydney Football Stadium Round 17: Melbourne Victory 3, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome Round 18: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0. Adelaide Oval
Wellington Phoenix: Round 14: Adelaide United 6, Wellington Phoenix 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 15: Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 16: Wellington Phoenix 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 17: Queensland Roar 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, Suncorp Stadium Round 18: Wellington Phoenix 3, Newcastle Jets 0, Wellington Phoenix
Analysis Wellington could keep its charge for the finals alive and officially end Sydney's quest for the post-season by completing a clean sweep over the Sky Blues in this match. The Phoenix are just one point out of the top four and a win here and anything less than a win for Queensland against Central Coast and Ricki Herbert's men would be inside the top four with just two matches remaining.
However, those two matches are against the current top two teams, Adelaide and Melbourne, making a good result against Sydney all the more important.
The Phoenix's past month has been excellent, with just one loss, an unlucky one, to Queensland. Last week's 3-0 win over the Jets wasn't as convincing as the scoreboard showed, but it demonstrated the importance of Shane Smeltz to the team. The Gold Coast-bound marksman's 11th and 12th goal of the season sealed the equal biggest win in the Phoenix's short history.
Phoenix has a fantastic record against Sydney having won three and lost just one of the five matches they have played against each other. Herbert has called back experienced pair Jon McKain and Andrew Durante into a 17-man squad.
John Kosmina's season has gone from bad to worse in the past month, with Sydney now on a four-game losing streak, the worst in the club's history. The finals are all but out-of-reach and there is little to rescue from the season except pride.
Kosmina, who has won just one if his past nine matches in charge, can take some encouragement in that his young team has been competitive against the competition's top two teams in Adelaide and Melbourne in the past fortnight. Sydney led Melbourne 2-0 before succumbing 3-2, while the 2-0 scoreline against the Reds belied the tight nature of that match.
Kosmina has given Antony Golec a chance to impress in this match including him at the expense of the suspended Matthew Jurman. John Aloisi remains sidelined for another week, while Adam Casey, Bobby Petta and Mitchell Prentice are all a chance to return by season's end.
Sydney FC Squad. 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2.Iain FYFE, 7.Rob MIDDLEBY, 8.Stuart MUSIALIK, 10.Steve CORICA (c), 12.Shannon COLE, 14.Alex BROSQUE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 29.Beau BUSCH, 31.Antony GOLEC, 32.Brendan GAN, 34.Rhyan GRANT, 35.Kofi DANNING.
In. 31.Antony GOLEC (promoted). Out. 27.Matthew JURMAN (suspended - 1 week).
Unavailable 23.John ALOISI (quadricep - 1 week), 18.Adam CASEY (quadricep - 2 weeks), 22.Mike ENFIELD (knee - indefinite), 28.Bobby PETTA (groin - 1 week), 5.Mitchell PRENTICE (groin - 2 weeks), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder - 3 weeks).
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Mark PASTON (gk), 2.Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Karl DODD, 6.Tim BROWN, 7.Leo BERTOS, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Michael FERRANTE, 11.DANIEL, 13.Troy HEARFIELD, 15.Adam KWASNIK, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Andrew DURANTE, 23.Costa BARBAROUSES, 25.Manny MUSCAT. * two to be omitted.
In. 4.Jon McKAIN (return from suspension), 22.Andrew DURANTE (return from suspension).
Unavailable. 17.Vince LIA (knee - season).