Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC

Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC will meet in a Round 14 fixture of the 2013-14 A-League season at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday, January 11 at 7.45pm AEDT.

Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC will meet in a Round 14 fixture of the 2013-14 A-League season at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday, January 11 at 7.45pm AEDT.

Head-to-head:

Played 4 – Win: Wanderers 2, Sydney 1, Draws: 1

Previous encounter:

Sydney 0-2 Wanderers, October 26, 2013

Form: Past five matches:

Wanderers: LDWWD Sydney: DLLWL

The Game:

The Wanderers suffered a rare defeat on home soil – their first in 360 days – after a shock 3-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix back on New Year's Day. It continues a patchy run of form for Tony Popovic's side, who have managed just two wins from their past five outings. It will be interesting to see just what team the Wanderers boss puts out for this one with the club to play another huge match against Victory just three days later in Melbourne. The good news is they have almost every player to choose from with no major injury concerns.

Local rivals Sydney managed to stop their mini-slump with a courageous come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Adelaide on Friday. The Sky Blues remain in fifth spot on the ladder but need to improve on one win from their last five games to stay there. Coach Frank Farina will need to call on a new-look midfield for this one with Nicky Carle (suspended) and Hagi Gligor (Australia under-22 duty) both unavailable. Brett Emerton, Terry McFlynn and Matt Thompson are expected to fight for the two free spots. Sebastian Ryall is also a chance to return from injury in defence. While the Wanderers have a better head-to-head record in this fixture, Sydney have never lost at Pirtek Stadium.

The big issue:

Wanderers – Fatigue. Despite boasting one of the best squads in the competition and Popovic's high rotation policy between matches, the Wanderers appeared tired from the hectic festive period and it took its toll in the upset loss to Wellington. While they should be fresh after a 10-day break from their last match, the matches continue to come thick and fast with the Victory game just three days later before a tough trip to Adelaide on Sunday week.

Sydney – Stopping Shinji Ono. The Japanese midfielder was the difference in the previous derby earlier this season, setting up the Wanderers' first goal before doing it all himself to score the second. With the Sky Blues to have almost a totally different midfield to their clash with Adelaide, it's vital they are on the same page to shut down the 34-year-old wizard.

The game breaker:

Corey Gamiero – After injury crippled the youngsters start to the season he has hit the ground running in three appearances off the bench for the Sky Blues and must be close to a starting berth. His pace is a major weapon for Sydney and his finish for the equaliser against the Reds last weekend was a small snapshot of his undoubted ability. In an ageing side that lacks a bit of speed and x-factor, Gameiro could be key to the Sky Blues getting one over their fierce neighbours.