Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Queensland Roar
The Phoenix have breathed life into their year with seven points in the past three weeks.
Date: Sunday October 26 Kick-off: 5pm local (3pm AEST) Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 3 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.co.nz
Head-to-head Past 4 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wellington - 0 wins, Queensland - 2 wins, Draws - 2.
Previous meeting Wellington Phoenix 1, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium, Round 1, August 2008
Past Five Games
Wellington: Round 4: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 5: Perth Glory 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 6: Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney FC 1, Westpac Stadium Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 8: Central Coast Mariners 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Stadium
Queensland Roar: Round 4: Perth Glory 0, Queensland Roar 3, Members Equity Stadium Round 5: Queensland Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Sydney FC 1, Queensland Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Queensland Roar 0, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium
Analysis At the start of the season Wellington coach Ricki Herbert claimed his squad wasn't playing to its potential. It's only now the rest of the Hyundai A-League competition is starting to believe him.
Shaping as the easy-beats of the competition, the Phoenix have breathed life into their year with a 2-1 victory against Sydney FC, a 2-2 draw with the Newcastle Jets and a 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners in the past three weeks.
Their resurgence puts them just one win out of the top four although they'll need to improve their minus four goal difference before they become a real challenger for the finals.
Last week Karl Dodd became the hero by scoring against the Mariners but it's been his input in defence that has been most valuable.
He, along with Andrew Durante, Tony Lochhead and Ben Sigmund are making the opposition earn every score and as a result the tide is turning for the New Zealand side.
Like the Phoenix, the Roar has a 2-2-3 record but would be seeing the season through much gloomier eyes in recent weeks.
They've gleamed just one point from their past two games and are getting very little from their Brazilian player Reinaldo. He's likely to benched this week with Sergio van Dijk and Tim Smits to be reunited in attack.
There are positives for the Brisbane-based side with Craig Moore quashing rumours he had plans to move to Northern Queensland while Matt Mundy is set to make his second appearance with the Roar.
Coach Frank Farina will also be super focussed on the game at hand after being under the spotlight for the wrong reasons this week.
Form would suggest Wellington would continue their promising season at home but if the players have got ahead of themselves they're sure to stumble against a desperate Queensland line-up. They'll also have to create history, having never beaten the Roar.
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 21. Leilei GAO, 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain).
In. Nil Out. Nil Unavailable. 12. Richard JOHNSON (illness - 1 week), 17. Vince LIA (knee - season).
Queensland Roar Squad. 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Andrew PACKER, 3. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 4.Craig MOORE, 6. David DODD, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Charlie MILLER, 11. REINALDO, 15. Matt McKAY, 18. Danny TIATTO, 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), 23. Tim SMITS, 24. Matt MUNDY.
In. 6. David DODD (promoted), 9. Sergio VAN DIJK (return from injury), Matt MUNDY (short-term contract) Out. 12. Tahj MINNIECON (international duty), 14. Ben GRIFFIN (injured), 16. Hyuk-Su SEO (injured)
Unavailable. 3. Luke DEVERE (international duty), 12. Tahj MINNIECON (international duty), 14. Ben GRIFFIN (injured), 16. Hyuk-Su SEO (injured), 17. Mitch NICHOLS (international duty), 19. Isaka CERNAK (international duty), 21. Tommy OAR (international duty), 22. Robbie KRUSE (injured).