Sydney's record on the line

Sydney FC has the perfect chance to avoid losing its Hyundai A-League record of most unbeaten matches when meeting Wellington's Phoenix in Palmerston North on Saturday.

Sydney FC has the perfect chance to avoid losing its Hyundai A-League record of most unbeaten matches when meeting Wellington's Phoenix in Palmerston North on Saturday.

The Phoenix share the record of 14 unbeaten matches at home with Sydney.

However, the Phoenix are not in their most familiar home surroundings of Westpac Stadium for the game. They have moved about 100 miles north to Palmerston North, the club's first 'home' game outside Wellington.

Coach Ricki Herbert said: "It's very exciting and by all accounts things are bubbling along really well in Palmerston North and there's a lot of buzz about."

"It goes to show that the game is in great heart in New Zealand and that football is continuing to go from strength to strength."

"Manawatu has always had a strong and proud football history and it's a real privilege for me and the team to be playing at FMG Stadium. It's going to be a fantastic match."

Missing from the Phoenix line-up will be goalkeeper Mark Paston who is having surgery on Friday for a broken tibia. He will be out of action for six weeks.

Ben Sigmund is also out, due to a three-week suspension for punching Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium.

Former Socceroo Jon McKain should return in Sigmund's place while young keeper Reece Crowther will start his sixth game.

Herbert said the match was a chance for fringe players to push their claims.

"Everyone has trained well and there could be opportunities. Everyone in the squad senses that. If we do go with new players then this could be their chance," he said.

The record would not be on the player's minds, Herbert added.

"We know that if we play well then the result will take care of itself. But if we can get that record, then great," he said.