Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory FC will be aiming to extend the gap at the top of the table to seven points, when they take on Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Saturday evening.
Glory will face a tough test against a Sky Blues outfit that demolished Central Coast 5-1 in their last outing but Kenny Lowe’s men will take heart from their courageous, come-from-behind 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory on Australia Day eve.
It’s been another solid week off the field for Glory with news of Nebojsa Marinkovic signing on with Glory until June 2017. Marinkovic has proved to be invaluable to Perth this season with his set pieces wreaking havoc on opposition defences, scoring eight goals in all competitions and currently leads the league for assists (6).
Perth has also been boosted in defence by the arrival of new signing, Denis Kramar. The 23-year old Slovenian central defender arrived from Spain this week on a short term injury replacement contract.
Perth however, will miss defensive-midfielder Rostyn Griffiths, who will serve a one match suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Melbourne Victory.
Mitch Nichols will miss his sixth consecutive game with a torn hamstring despite returning to training during the week, but is expected to be back in action within a week or two.
Graham Arnold’s side currently sit fifth in the Hyundai A-League standings and has the equal most clean sheets in the competition (6 tied with Adelaide United) – however Sydney is winless in its last three matches at nib Stadium.
Sydney though, is the only team in the Hyundai A-League to remain unbeaten on the road this season and will visit Perth with a near full strength side.
Glory captain Michael Thwaite admits Perth will need to lift its game after its last home match.
“We need a massive improvement after our last game against Victory, but all the boys are up for it” he said.
“It’s not so much (being in) a lull we’re four points clear. I guess we’re just finding our groove again but to come back late in the game (against Victory) is just proof the spirit’s still there and the character’s still there.
Last time the two sides met it ended in Glory’s favour, winning 2-1.
This weekend will be the first time former Glory sharp shooter Shane Smeltz makes his return to Perth-but in Blues colours.
Smeltz fired in a controversial penalty against Glory in Round 9 which Thwaite said he wasn’t too happy about.
“Dino (Djulbic) and I didn't like that he celebrated after he scored the penalty last time. It’s probably why we came back and beat them 2-1” he said.
But Thwaite said he did intend on spending some time with the New Zealand international after the match.
"After the game we'll go for a coffee. He knows the best places, because that's all he was doing in his time in Perth - drinking coffee," Thwaite joked.
Kick-off is at 6.30 pm
Click here to get your tickets to one of the biggest football matches in Perth this season.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
Perth Glory v Sydney FC
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:30 PM (Local) (9:30 PM AEDT)
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Tim Mihevc
Assistant Referee 2: Josh Mannella
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
TV Broadcast : Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcas t: 720 ABC Perth, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio WA & NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvSYD
Perth Glory FC squad : 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 3.Brandon O'NEILL, 4.Riley WOODCOCK, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 22.Cameron EDWARDS, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 24.Matthew DAVIES, 27.Dragan PALJIC
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA (promoted), 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk) (promoted), 22.Cameron EDWARDS (promoted), 24.Matthew DAVIES (promoted)
Outs: 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended -1 week), 14.Chris HAROLD (ankle – 2 weeks), 30.Jordan THURTELL (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI (hamstring – season), 17.Mitch NICHOLS (hamstring – 2 weeks), 13.Diogo FEREIRA (hip – 5 weeks)
Sydney FC squad : 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25.Aaron CALVER, 26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Seb RYALL (return from injury), 17.Terry ANTONIS (return from international duty), 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV (new signing)
Outs: 18.Peter TRIANTIS (not selected)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite)