Preview: Wellington v Sydney FC
Wellington heads to a new home protecting an imposing record across the ditch for the showdown with a suddenly buoyant Sydney FC.
Date: Saturday December 12 Kick-off: 7:00pm NZT Venue: FMG Stadium, Palmerston Nth TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is The Radio Network 1035 AM (Wellington). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.co.nz
Head-to-head 8 A-League meetings - Sydney 4 wins, Phoenix 3 wins, 1 draw
Previous Meeting Sydney FC 3, Wellington Phoenix 1, Round 12, 1 November, 2009
Past five matches: Sydney FC: Round 13: Sydney FC 3, Wellington Phoenix 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 14: Gold Coast United 1, Sydney FC 0, Skilled Park Round 15: Perth 2, Sydney FC 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 16: Sydney FC 1, Newcastle 3, Sydney Football Stadium Round 17: Sydney FC 4, North Queensland 1, Sydney Football Stadium
Wellington: Round 10: Wellington Phoenix 3, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium Round 14: Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 15: Newcastle 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 16: Brisbane 4, Wellington Phoenix 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 17: Wellington Phoenix 1, Melbourne Victory 1, Westpac Stadium
Analysis: Wellington heads to a new home protecting an imposing record across the ditch for the showdown with a suddenly buoyant Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues ended a worrying three-match losing streak with a resounding 4-1 thumping of Robbie Fowler's Fury at the SFS last round.
John Aloisi broke two droughts: starting a match for the first time in several weeks and scoring his first goal since the early rounds.
It bodes well for coach Vitezslav Lavicka ahead of his first trip across the Tasman.
But his team faces a very difficult assignment against a Wellington side not accustomed to giving up all three points on home soil.
The Kiwis have now gone 14 matches undefeated in New Zealand to rank alongside alongside Sydney FC for unbeaten home runs.
The record will be theirs if they hold off the second-placed Sky Blues, although this time they are in the slightly less familiar locale of Palmerston North's FMG Stadium.
Their task becomes slightly more difficult after losing goalkeeper Mark Paston to a knee injury.
All White Ben Sigmund will also be missing after collecting a three-week suspension for punching Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer.
Jon McKain is set to replace Sigmund with rookie keeper Reece Crowther to start his sixth match in Paston's place.
Lavicka is unlikely to tinker with a winning line-up, Aloisi again to partner the in-form Alex Brosque up front.
Sydney can finish the weekend on top of the table if its wins and Melbourne slips up against Central Coast.
The Phoenix go into the match in seventh but just a win outside the top four.
Sydney has beaten Wellington in its two previous meetings this year.
Wellington Phoenix: 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, 14. Adrian CACERES, 16. David MULLIGAN, 17. Vince LIA, 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES, 30.Jonathan GOULD (gk) *three to be omitted*
In: Jonathan GOULD (gk) (injury replacement player), Chris GREENACRE (returns from injury), Marco ROJAS (promoted), David MULLIGAN (promoted), Michael FERRANTE (promoted)
Out: Mark PASTON (knee - 6 weeks), Ben SIGMUND (suspended - 3 weeks)
Unavailable: Manny MUSCAT (suspended - 2 weeks)
Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3.Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 16. Chris PAYNE, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 18.Adam CASEY, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT *two to be omitted*
In: Chris PAYNE (promoted)
Out: Mark BRIDGE (ankle), Kofi DANNING (not selected)