Friday night football throws up a Round 25 A-League cracker with Perth Glory hosting Sydney FC. The WA outfit look to be over their mid-season slump and are building momentum for the Finals Series but the Sky Blues' incredible away record makes them a highly dangerous opponent.
Friday, 10 April
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 7.45pm (Local) (9.45pm AEST)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4.Riley WOODCOCK, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Diogo FEREIRRA, 14.Chris Harold, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 25.Mitch OXBORROW, 27.Dragan PALJIC ***two to be omitted***
Ins: 4.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 13.Diogo FEREIRRA, 25.Mitch OXBORROW
Outs: 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – 1 week)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI
Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12. Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25. Aaron CALVER, 26.Jacques FATY, 29.George BLACKWOOD, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV ***two to be omitted***
Ins: 12. Hagi GLIGOR (promoted), 18.Peter TRIANTIS (promoted), 25. Aaron CALVER (promoted)
Outs: 27.Mickael TAVARES (groin – 1 week)
Unavailable: 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 9.Shane SMELTZ (suspended – 1 match), 17.Terry ANTONIS (knee - 2 weeks), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite).
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio – Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.
A fortnight ago Perth’s season appeared in free-fall, without a win in nine games and moving the wrong way on the table. But two straight wins and all of a sudden they are dreaming of the Premiers’ Plate again.
Level on points with Melbourne Victory at the top, Glory have a decent run home and will believe they can win all three matches.
However, this looms as their toughest test in a while. It was just a couple of months ago Sydney FC came to town and left with an impressive 3-1 win, despite finishing with nine men.
The Sky Blues come to town with just one win in their last three but shooting for a 12th straight game on their travels without defeat. If Graham Arnold’s side are to stay alive for the Premiers' Plate – or even just a home final – then they will feel they have to get something out of this clash.
Glory will be without midfielder Mitch Nichols for the rest of the season after the club released him from his loan deal.
Nichols will return to parent club Cerezo Osaka in Japan. Combative midfielder Ruben Zadkovich is also out for at least a week with a knee problem.
Sydney will be forced into at least one change with Mickael Tavares not travelling due to a groin problem. The versatile Rhyan Grant will take his place.
The only other change might come in defence with youngster Alex Gersbach an option to return at left-back.
Either Nikola Petkovic or Matt Jurman would make way if Arnold opts to re-call the teenager.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Glory midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has scored in all three of his previous Hyundai A-League appearances against Sydney FC.
-Sydney FC have won eight and drawn two of their Hyundai A-League games that Marc Janko has scored in.
-Just three of the last 16 Hyundai A-League games between these two sides have been won by Perth Glory (10 Sydney wins, three draws).
-Sydney FC has been given a Hyundai A-League-high five red cards this season. There have been five red cards in the last six games between these sides, with four being given to Sydney FC players.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Glory boss Kenny Lowe has started with playmaker Nebojsa Marinkovic on the bench the last couple of weeks and the move has paid off, with two strong wins.
But as the Serbian showed against Newcastle last week, he is capable of some special goals and it will be interesting to see if he remains among the substitutes for this one.
And with Sidnei Sciola playing much closer to Andy Keogh, it clearly has worked with the Irishman revelling in having a second striker to play off.
Injuries means there is little room for Graham Arnold to move with his attack. Janko should benefit from a full week of training and he’ll be desperate to get back among the goals after failing to find the back of the net in his last two matches.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Mitch Nichols – he was released by Glory on the eve of this game.
FORM LINES (past five games)
Perth Glory: WWDLD
Sydney FC: LWLWW
Glory look to be well and truly over their slump, making it back-to-back wins following a nine-match winless run.
Their 2-0 win over the Jets took them up to a share of top spot with Melbourne Victory. But it’s been almost 15 months since they kept two consecutive clean sheets. Sydney slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Adelaide, their fifth loss at Allianz Stadium this season. They are unbeaten on the road though, including a 3-1 win over Glory in February.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sydney FC has never lost a match when Marc Janko scores. Their record is eight wins and two draws when the Austrian skipper has found the back of the net.
Perth Glory 1-2 Sydney FC
The confidence is back in the Glory camp – even with some off-field distractions – and they will see this match as an opportunity to make a statement just a couple of weeks out from the finals. But Sydney rarely go two games in a row without scoring and seem to have the perfect game-plan when it comes to playing on the road.comments