Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
Wellington is looking to notch its first-ever win over Adelaide when the two meet in the Windy City on Friday night.
Date: Friday September 4, Kick-off: 5:30pm AEST, 7:30pm local Venue: Westpac Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3 and Sky Sports 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is The Radio Network 1035 AM (Wellington). To purchase tickets visit www.ticktek.co.nz
Head-to-head Played 6: Wins: Wellington 0, Adelaide 4, Draws: 2
Previous meeting Wellington Phoenix 1, Adelaide United 1, Westpac Stadium, Round 20, January 2009
Season so far: Wellington Phoenix: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium, Round 3: Brisbane Roar 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 4: Sydney FC 2, Wellington Phoenix 0, Sydney Football Stadium
Adelaide United: Round 1: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 2: Sydney FC 1, Adelaide United 0, SFS Round 3: Adelaide United 0, Gold Coast United 2, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 4: Adelaide United 3, North Queensland Fury 3, Hindmarsh Stadium
Analysis: Wellington is looking to notch its first-ever win over Adelaide when the two meet in the Windy City on Friday night. After two successive matches on the road, a draw in Brisbane and a loss in Sydney, the Phoenix will be glad to be back in front of their home crowd and are looking for their second win of the season.
Wellington's only other win of 2009/10 came at home to Perth Glory in Round 2. The Glory went on to frank that form with back-to-back wins. It's no secret that if Wellington is to be a successful side it must make the trip across the ditch the toughest in the league, and a victory over Adelaide here would send a warning to the rest of the competition that the Phoenix at home are something to be feared.
Ricki Herbert's men are less unpredictable this campaign and while that may lead to some more consistent performances overall, the entertainment value has probably suffered. The Phoenix were rewarded for their persistence in the 1-1 draw with the Roar, but they failed to take advantage of a lacklustre performance from Sydney in the first half last week and were punished with a 2-0 defeat.
Herbert has looked to add to his attacking options by signing Adrian Caceres from Central Coast during the week, but he is not eligible for this match. First-choice stopper Mark Paston returns while Tim Brown, Jiang Chen, David Mulligan, Macros Rojas and Costa Barbarouses have all been promoted into an extended squad.
Manny Muscat is on international duty with Malta, while short-term signing Jonathan Gould is the other player out from last week.
Adelaide's campaign is undoubtedly at the crossroads after a third straight game without a victory. While one problem was somewhat solved against the Fury last week, that being the lack of goals, a new one emerged, with a leaky defence letting in three goals in what proved a thrilling draw.
Only Dyron Daal's inexplicable brain snap, which led to an injury-time penalty for Lucas Pantelis, saved the Reds anything from the game after they had led 2-1 with seven minutes remaining. It was a surprising lack of composure from the usually ice-cool Reds defence which led to the Fury almost winning the game. Defender Robbie Cornthwaite allegedly had some composure issues himself the following night, earning the attention of the South Australian constabulary and a subsequent two-match ban which comes at bad time for the Reds.
In another setback, Scott Jamieson has suffered a calf injury and will miss at least this match.
That makes five key Reds players out with the same injury, with skipper Travis Dodd to miss another week along with Fabian Barbiero, while Cassio is two weeks away and Kristian Sarkies out indefinitely. Francesco Monterosso, Joe Costa and Matthew Leckie come into the squad to head to New Zealand.
This is a huge test for the Reds, who have been one of the most consistent teams over the four years of the Hyundai A-League. Another loss could leave them well adrift of the teams at the top of the ladder, while a win would be a huge tonic for their sagging confidence.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. DIEGO, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL. 9. Chris GREENACRE, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Jiang CHEN, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 16. David MULLIGAN, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES *four to be omitted*
In: Mark PASTON (gk) (return from personal leave), Tim BROWN (promoted), Jiang CHEN (promoted), David MULLIGAN (promoted), Marco ROJAS (promoted), Costa BARBAROUSES (promoted) Out: Manny MUSCAT (international duty), Jonathan GOULD (gk) (short-term cover) Unavailable: Adrian CACERES (new signing)
Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 7.Lucas PANTELIS (c), 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 12.Paul REID, 15.Francesco MONTEROSSO, 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Michael MARRONE, 19. Mathew Leckie, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN, 23.Joe COSTA *one to be omitted* In: Francesco MONTEROSSO (promoted), Joe COSTA (promoted), Mathew Leckie (new player) Out: Robert CORNTHWAITE (suspended - 2 weeks), Scott JAMIESON (calf - 1 week) Unavailable: CASSIO (calf - 2 weeks), Kristian SARKIES (calf - indefinite), Travis DODD (calf - 1 week), Fabian BARBIERO (calf - 1 week)