Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

Wellington will be looking to finally get a stuttering season back on track while Perth are aiming for their first win across the Tasman since the New Zealand Knights days.

Date: Saturday, December 10 Kick-off: 5.00pm NZT, 3.00pm AEDT, 12:00pm AWST Venue: Westpac Stadium

Head-to-head Played 14: Wins: Wellington 7, Perth 5, Draws: 2

Previous encounter Perth Glory 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, October 23 2011

History: Glory produced a solid but far from spectacular 1-0 victory over the Phoenix when these teams met in the season's third week. Former Phoenix man Shane Smeltz did the damage, popping up for the game's only goal in a match coach Ricki Herbert felt was dominated by the Wellington side.

In fairness to Perth, their defence appeared pretty comfortable against a seriously undermanned Phoenix, but Perth will be very wary of an almost full-strength Wellington after copping a 4-0 horror show at Westpac Stadium in dreadful conditions last January. The Glory have never beaten Wellington on the other side of the ditch and will be looking to break their duck this weekend.

Form: Past five matches: Wellington Phoenix: LDDWL Perth Glory: LLDLW

Wellington suffered a small blip last weekend as they travelled to the Victorian town of Morwell to face Melbourne Heart in the season's first regional match.

In what was a pretty exciting affair, Heart came away with a 1-0 win, but on any other day, the Phoenix may have scored three goals as they were denied by the woodwork and Clint Bolton. Prior to that loss, Wellington had produced a good win over Sydney FC and a brave draw with Brisbane either side of a lacklustre 1-1 draw with Adelaide in Auckland.

As for Perth, we were meant to be writing about the midweek result in the clash between the Glory and Sky Blues at Campbelltown. But the airport chaos that struck Perth after Tuesday's 12-hour storm prevented them flying over and that match was postponed.

Before that, though, Glory enjoyed a solid 2-0 win over Gold Coast United last Saturday night. The goals both came from penalties but a win's a win for Perth, who ended a five-match run without a victory through this result.

Match Committee: Wellington appear to have finally overcome the injury and suspension issues that have plagued their season to this point, but both Mirjan Pavlovic and Dani Sanchez will be pushing for a first-team recall after being particularly lively coming off the bench last week.

Glory are still missing Travis Dodd, who's a few weeks away with his hamstring injury while young defender Josh Risdon needed stitches in his head after last week's National Youth League game and probably won't make the trip. Promising striker Adam Taggart went over on his ankle at training on Wednesday but has been deemed fit to travel.

Glory are still without Chris Coyne (Achilles) and Scott Neville (knee) who have long-term injuries, while Dutchman Victor Sikora is building his match fitness.

Danger men: Paul Ifill - Ifill crops up in the danger man category with alarming regularity but when he's on song, he's one of the league's absolute best. After being denied on a few occasions last week, the Barbadian will be extra keen to hit the back of the net, especially as Ricki Herbert's side certainly haven't made the most of the chances they've created this season.

Liam Miller - Coming back from his controversial suspension for that red card against Victory, Irishman Miller produced a dominant display at the heart of Glory's midfield against Gold Coast directing the traffic and releasing the likes of Andrezinho and Mile Sterjovski with his intelligent passing.

At the end of the day… Wellington will be looking to finally get a stuttering season back on track while Perth are aiming for their first win across the Tasman since the New Zealand Knights days. Although coach Ian Ferguson won't be using it as an excuse, it's been a tough preparation week for Perth. They spent eight hours waiting for the flight to Sydney and when that was cancelled hasty new travel arrangements had to be made, which will see them head to Wellington via a long flight to Brisbane. They'll be hoping their gear arrives as well, for all their checked luggage went without them to Sydney where it will presumably be sent on to New Zealand.

Both sides though, have had similar seasons as they've both failed to fully capitalise on the chances they've created. However, despite being undermanned, Glory's defence still seems a little more solid than Wellington's back four, who have conceded several soft goals according to Herbert.

Perth will be confident of causing an upset, but Wellington will be desperately keen to re-establish their imposing record at Westpac Stadium after two losses there earlier in the season, so expect this to be a very keenly-contested affair.


Wellington Phoenix squad: 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, 14, Mirjan Pavlovic, 15. Cameron Lindsay, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 20, Tony Warner (GK), 21. Dani Sanchez, 22. Andrew Durante (C) *two to be omitted*

In: Brent Griffiths (promoted), Cameron Lindsay (promoted). Out: Nil Unavailable: Lucas Pantelis (knee injury - indefinite), Jimmy Downey (knee injury - 1 to 2 weeks)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny Vukovic (Gk), 2.Josh Mitchell, 3.Bas Van Den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 7.Jacob Burns (C), 8.Adam Hughes, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 15.Tommy Amphlett, 17.Todd Howarth, 21.Mile Sterjovski, 22.Adam Taggart 25. Trent Mcclenahan, 27.Andrezinho, 30. Lewis Italiano (Gk) *One To Be Omitted*

In: 5.Steve Pantelidis (Promoted), 15. Tommy Amphlett (Promoted) Out: Steven Mcgarry (Omitted) Unavailable: 6.Chris Coyne (Achilles - 3 Months), 11.Victor Sikora (Hip - Long Term Injury List), 12.Scott Neville (Knee), 13.Travis Dodd (Hamstring- 1 Week),16.Evan Berger (Hamstring - 4-Weeks), 20.Neil Young (Abdominal)