Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United

Both sides head into the game buoyed by positive performances. However, this is a difficult one to pick, being played at Auckland's Eden Park.

Date: Saturday, November 19 Kick-off: 5.00pm NZT, 3.00pm AEDT Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Head-to-head Played 13: Wellington 3, Adelaide United 6, Draws: 4

Previous encounter Adelaide United 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium, February 2011

History: These sides shared two wins apiece from four clashes last season. However, it was Adelaide who took the honours in the decisive one, winning last year's third v sixth elimination final 1-0. It all took place on a wet and windy summer's night at Hindmarsh Stadium, where Marcos Flores set up Travis Dodd for a 70th-minute winner although neither of those players are with Adelaide anymore. And, of course, we can't discuss the history between these teams without mentioning that 6-1 caning by Adelaide back in December 2008.

Form: Last five matches: Wellington: WLLLD Adelaide United: WLLDW

Both sides produced encouraging results last weekend. The Phoenix went into last Sunday's clash with Brisbane having lost three in a row, including two games at their former fortress Westpac Stadium. However, with a good slice of luck, Wellington defended resiliently and took a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Brisbane where they conceded 19 shots to four.

Adelaide, meanwhile, took on a struggling Gold Coast in the battle of the Uniteds. This time it was the Reds recording just their second win of the campaign as Iain Ramsey scored the winner after Zenon Caravella's initial goal for Adelaide was cancelled out by a deflected James Brown strike.

Match Committee: Interesting times on the selection front for Wellington. Veterans Paul Ifill (groin) and Vince Lia (knee) took part in full training sessions this week and could be considered. Ifill hasn't played in a month and has been sorely missed. Mirjan Pavlovic is also a week from resuming with his arm injury but it's not all good news for coach Ricki Herbert as Daniel (hamstring) and Dani Sanchez (hip flexor) are under injury clouds.

Adelaide suffered a big loss when striker Sergio van Dijk was ruled out with a calf injury. Indeed, there's been more calves going down at Adelaide than there is in a day at Bovine University as Milan Susak and Evgeniy Levchenko also deal with calf issues and are in doubt.

Danger men: Tim Brown - Former Phoenix assistant Luciano Trani has been helping Reds' coach Rini Coolen dissect the Phoenix and he reckons Tim Brown, who scored against Brisbane last week, is up there with the league's most under-rated players. Who am I to argue?

Zenon Caravella - Caravella was a danger at both ends last week against his old side Gold Coast. He scored the opener for Adelaide but was awarded an own-goal against him soon after as James Brown's strike took a wicked deflection off his boot. Under review, the FFA eventually awarded the goal to Brown.

At the end of the day… Both sides head into the game buoyed by positive performances. However, this is a difficult one to pick, being played at Auckland's Eden Park. New Zealand's home of rugby is unfamiliar surrounds for both sides and in fact, it's so unfamiliar that a competitive football match hasn't been played there since New Zealand played Israel in an Olympic qualifier back in 1988.

Herbert's team will no doubt want to make a big impression on the Auckland locals and should do so as they've been in reasonably good form despite their results. Playing with a threadbare squad due to pre-season financial issues and subsequent injuries, Wellington actually played some pretty decent football during their losing run, while last week's effort against Brisbane was immense. With core players Ifill and Lia potentially back in the side and no suspension issues to concern themselves this week, the Phoenix will be pretty hard to beat I imagine, especially against an Adelaide side that has some defensive frailties as shown by that 7-1 loss to Brisbane.


Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark Paston (GK), 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 4. Brent Griffiths, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Chris Greenacre, 11. Daniel, 12. Nicky Ward, 13. Niko Tsattalios, 15. Cameron Lindsay, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 20, Tony Warner (GK), 22. Andrew Durante (C), 24, Alex Smith *two to be omitted*

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (Gk), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon Mckain (C), 6.Cassio, 7.Zenon Caravella, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 13.Ricardo Dasilva, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Spase Dilevski, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Francisco Usucar, 39.Nick Munro (Gk) *one to be omitted*