All eyes will be on Alessandro Del Piero and how he fares during his debut for the 'glamour club' of Australian football.
Date: Saturday, October 6 Kick-off: 4:30pm AEST, 7:30pm local Venue: Westpac Stadium
Head-to-head Played 17: Wins: Wellington 8, Sydney FC 8, Draws: 1
Previous encounter Wellington 3 Sydney FC 2, March 30, 2012
Form: Past five matches: Wellington: LWWDW Sydney FC: WWLDL
The Game Leading marksman Paul Ifill declared himself fit for Wellington but it is likely that he will start on the bench, meaning New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie will probably lead the line for Wellington alongside another new recruit in Belgian attacker Stein Huysegems.
Following a positive pre-season tour of India, the Phoenix will also be further boosted by having defensive players Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat all available after the trio received suspensions of varying degrees following a spiteful friendly against Newcastle.
For Sydney FC, defender Pascal Bosschaart is still recovering from Achilles surgery, while Brett Emerton (ankle), Joel Chianese (thigh) and Adam Griffiths (hamstring) played in the club's intra-club match and should line-up in Wellington.
The big issue Phoenix - Stopping Del Piero. Although the Sky Blues haven't had too many practice matches over the winter break, the word is that Alessandro Del Piero put in a sterling shift playing in last week's intra-club clash.
Despite having a European summer without a club to train with, Del Piero looked sharp and laid off several goals for others during the hit-out, although whether the pressure levels were anywhere near what he can expect from the Phoenix on their home patch is a question for debate. And, with blokes like Manny Muscat and Ben Sigmund already lining up to have a go at Del Piero, he'll need to be on his toes.
Sydney - Lack of match practice. The Sky Blues couldn't take a trick when it came to organising a practice game against decent opposition. The clash against Newcastle was called off and the Mariners pulled the pin on another game, for they were feeling tired. We've already mentioned the Sky Blues intra-club game last week, but whether that's enough for new coach Ian Crook to properly evaluate his systems and how well Del Piero has integrated into those remains to be seen.
Gamebreaker Alessandro Del Piero - The legend of Italian football sparked a frenzy among fans and media, and understandably so. Del Piero has achieved everything in world football with Juventus - the Serie A, Copa Italia, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Intertoto Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, while he lifted the cherished World Cup trophy with Italy in 2006.
He netted 209 league goals over a 19-year period for the Italian giants, so Del Piero arrives in Australia with little or nothing to prove. He will, however, want to leave a lasting memory for football fans.
Prediction: Wellington 2 Sydney 1