Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory

Wellington may have recorded only two wins over Melbourne Victory in their history, but didn't lose to them in three matches last season.

Date: Sunday October 30 Kick-off: 4.30pm NZDT, 2:30pm AEDT Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Head-to-head Played: 12, Wins: Melbourne Victory 4, Wellington Phoenix 2, Drawn: 6

Previous encounter Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 0, Westpac Stadium, January 2011

History: Wellington may have recorded only two wins over Melbourne Victory in their history, but didn't lose to them in three matches last season, which is a fine achievement.

The first match between them ended in a dull 0-0 draw, while the next match between them saw them split the points again, but this time in a 2-2 result in Wellington in November. The Phoenix then chalked up their first win over Vctory in two years with a 2-0 home success in January.

Form: Wellington Phoenix: DWL Melbourne Victory: DLD

Form Summary: Wellington have already endured two road trips this season, with a draw against Gold Coast (1-1) and a loss to Perth (1-0) split by a home win (2-0) over Newcastle. This marks the first of a run of six home games in eight for the Phoenix who have been fairly consistent so far this season. They were only undone by a goal from their former striker Shane Smeltz last week against Glory.

There has been plenty of publicity about Victory's underwhelming start to the season, Goal-less through the first 270 minutes, the team which was supposed to be the great entertainers have been fortunate to escape with two draws from their two home games to date. They were dominated by Melbourne Heart last week and had goalkeeper Ante Covic to thank for preserving a 0-0 scoreline.

Match Committee: Wellington will regain Tim Brown for this match after he served his one-match ban but lose full back Manny Muscat through suspension. Paul Ifill remains sidelined, meaning Ricki Herbert will stick to a similar 11 as he took into the match against Perth.

Victory also get a key player back from suspension, with Adrian Leijer returning, most likely at the expense of Petar Franjic. There are unlikely to be too many changes to Melbourne defence, which has been doing the job. Up the other end, coach Mehmet Durakovic has to decide whether to include Carlos Hernandez in the starting XI, at the expense of Isaka Cernak. If that happens, where does he play Harry Kewell?

Danger men: Daniel - The Brazilian's greatest weakness is his inconsistency, but when he is on song, he can be very dangerous. Clearly looked the man most likely to score against Perth last week and in the absence of Ifill is a very important player for Phoenix.

Ante Covic - Hard to believe that in a side with the attacking talent that Victory have we've plumped for the goalkeeper as their most dangerous player. But Covic has been by far the best Melbourne player in the first three weeks off the season, pulling off a string of saves and only conceding one goal.

At the end of the day…

Wellington have done extremely well so far this season considering the lack of recruiting in the off-season and they will look to make Westpac Stadium their fortress throughout the season. This next two months looms as a really important period and if they can win most of their home matches in that time, they could set themselves up for the finals.

The issue is that they don't have a great deal of depth and as injuries start to mount, the job will get harder for them to play the style of positive football they want.

They come up against a Victory side completely devoid of confidence after a difficult start to the season. Their defence is doing a good job of remaining compact, but that means that they have battled to create a link with their midfield and attackers. As assistant coach Kevin Muscat put it, there is not enough movement off the ball to create chances and there is an inability to maintain possession.

The fix for Victory is about more than confidence or structure. They need inspiration from their creative players and simply need to create more quality shots.

Wellington is not an easy place to play football and Victory have won just one of six matches at this ground over the years and that was back early in the 2008-09 season. The fact six of the 12 matches between these two have resulted in draws indicates that the clash of their respective styles rarely brings out the most attacking football from either of them.

With that in mind, a low scoring draw would hardly surprise, although Victory fans will be hoping their highly-credentialed attack finally catches fire.

Teams: TBC