Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
Date: Sunday August 16, Kick-off: 5:00pm NZST, 3:00pm AEST, 1:00pm AWS Tt's hard to imagine a bigger contrast in the weather from Perth's Mediterranean-style climate to a wet and windy winter's evening in the New Zealand capital
Date: Sunday August 16 Kick-off: 5:00pm NZST, 3:00pm AEST, 1:00pm AWST 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) and 6PR 882 AM (Perth). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.co.nz
Head-to-head 6 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wins: Wellington 3, Perth Glory 2, Draws - 1
Previous meeting Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium, Round 15, December 2008
Season so far: Wellington Phoenix: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Perth Glory: Round 1: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium
Analysis: After going so close against Newcastle last weekend, the Phoenix will be looking to bank their first points of the new campaign when they host the Glory at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It's hard to imagine a bigger contrast in the weather from Perth's Mediterranean-style climate to a wet and windy winter's evening in the New Zealand capital, but the locals will be looking to make the most of the home-ground advantage as both clubs aim for their first win of the season.
This match is already shaping up as something of a slugfest. Wellington may have put two goals past the Jets last weekend, but both scores were the end result of some poor Newcastle defending and it seems unlikely the Glory will offer the same opportunities. That being said, whether the Glory can offer much of an attacking threat to expose Wellington's suspect back four remains to be seen after the Western Australians underwhelmed going forward last Friday night.
So far, Wellington hasn't made any changes to its Round 1 squad, but will have to drop four players for Sunday's match. Speaking throughout the week, coach Ricki Herbert has said he felt his side went into the Jets' game a little flat after a long pre-season. It may be possible, then, that Herbert gives the group another chance to prove themselves as the starting line-up, before making any wholesale changes to his team. If that's the case then Vince Lia, David Mulligan, Costa Barbarouses and Marco Rojas could be the unlucky foursome omitted, although don't discount the speedy Barbarouses playing in an attempt to burst through the Glory lines.
Perth, meanwhile, has made one forced change to its line-up after last weekend's 1-0 loss to Adelaide, losing defender/midfielder Jamie Coyne to a knee injury and replacing him with Wayne Srhoj. Srhoj, the club's first-choice central midfielder alongside captain Jacob Burns, trained throughout the week but is still under a bit of a cloud after suffering a hamstring injury late in the pre-season. Facing one of the longest road trips in world football, coach Dave Mitchell will assess Srhoj's fitness when they reach Wellington, along with right midfielder Adriano Pellegrino, who has only trained once this week after suffering a bout of tonsillitis. If he can't start this match, Mitchell has indicated the talented Andrija Jukic could take Pellegrino's position on the right, as the coach seems reluctant to move Mile Sterjovski from his role a striker. Sterjovski did make a name for himself as a right midfielder while in Europe, though, and moving him to this position would allow Mitchell to start with promising striker Branko Jelic up front with Eugene Dadi.
The Glory's rugged defence of Scott Neville, Andy Todd, Chris Coyne and Naum Sekulovski should remain unchanged, but the back four will have to be on their guard for former Perth man Leo Bertos. The livewire Wellington forward produced a brilliant performance last weekend, setting up both Phoenix goals, and he's sure to receive more assistance from former Crystal Palace man Paul Ifill, who was disappointed with his Hyundai A-League debut last weekend and is determined to make amends. But with a wealth of English experience behind them, the Glory's back four shouldn't be prised apart as easily as the Jets' and goals should be at a premium down that end. That being said, the Glory's approach play last weekend was particularly underwhelming until the last 10 minutes, and unless Mitchell can get his side to find some fluency in attack, Perth may struggle to test Wellington stopper Mark Paston.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 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, 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
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Eugene DADI, 15.Howard FONDYKE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 18.Brent GRIFFITHS, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC * two to be omitted
In: 10.Wayne SRHOJ (return from injury)
Out: 3.Jamie COYNE (knee - 4 weeks)
Unavailable: Jimmy DOWNEY (knee - 6 weeks), Jamie HARNWELL (hamstring - 2 weeks), Scott BULLOCH (achilles - 2 weeks), Anthony SKORICH (hip - 7 weeks)