Perth prepared for tough trip

Star striker Branko Jelic headlines the inclusions for Perth Glory who jet across the Tasman on one of the longest domestic road trips in world football to tackle Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Sunday afternoon.

Star striker Branko Jelic headlines the inclusions for Perth Glory who jet across the Tasman on one of the longest domestic road trips in world football to tackle Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Sunday afternoon.

Jelic missed the club-s last match with a virus but has trained strongly this week. His return will see Glory-s two leading scorers playing alongside each other for the first time in nearly a month.

Marquee man Mile Sterjovski and Jelic have scored four goals apiece this season but have had limited time together on the pitch during Perth-s recent rough stretch.

“Branko is a predator and always gets himself into goal scoring positions. It was unfortunate not to have him available last week but it was the right thing to do and he has recovered quickly and has looked good this week,” said Coach Dave Mitchell.

“Mile and Branko have a good understanding and I think they are a dangerous combination. We have a few options in attack and I haven-t decided exactly how we-ll line up as yet but it-s nice to have Branko available again.”

Mitchell will be hoping his side can find some luck in front of goal after being denied by the woodwork on several occasions while they-ve also fallen victim to line-ball off-side calls that haven-t gone their way.

However, it will be Glory-s capabilities on the last line that Mitchell will be looking to see the most improvement after small lapses have cost goals in recent outings.

“It-s not just the back four when we talk about defending, it-s everyone as a unit on the park. The midfielders, the strikers, everyone has a duty to defend and that is something we-ve worked hard to improve,” Mitchell said.

“I don-t think it is a huge issue, its something we can definitely rectify quickly. The boys are very focused and we-re confident of putting it right starting this week.”

Wellington has built an impressive record at home, not having lost in six games this season, extending their run to a total of 12 consecutive matches unbeaten at Westpac Stadium.

Perth-s most recent trip to Wellington resulted in a narrow 2-1 loss but the club can take plenty of confident out of a performance that should have been rewarded with at least a point.

“We played them earlier in the season and I felt we gave as good as we got,” Mitchell said.

“I think both sides have improved since then and it will be another good contest.

“They-ve recruited very well, (Chris) Greenacre and (Paul) Ifill have been excellent up front, while we know the quality of Leo Bertos. They-re strong all over the park and have made good use of their home ground advantage.

“They haven-t lost at home in quite some time so it is a big challenge but we-ll be going there with the right attitude and looking to take it right up to Wellington,” said Mitchell.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Rd 14

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory Sunday, 8 November 2009 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-off: 12.00pm (AWST) Referee: Matthew Gillett

Club radio broadcast partner 6PR 882AM - www.6pr.com.au - click here to listen.

TV broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Mark PASTON (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 5.DIEGO, 6.Tim BROWN, 7.Leo BERTOS, 8.Paul IFILL, 9.Chris GREENACRE, 10.Michael FERRANTE, 11.DANIEL, 12.Jiang CHEN, 13.Troy HEARFIELD, 14.Adrian CACERES, 16.David MULLIGAN, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 20.Reece CROWTHER (gk), 21.Marco ROJAS, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Costa BARBAROUSES *five to be omitted*

In: Mark PASTON (gk, return from injury), DIEGO (promoted), Michael FERRANTE (promoted), Jiang CHEN (promoted),David MULLIGAN, Marco ROJAS Out: Jonathan GOULD (gk, short-term injury cover) Unavailable: Jon McKAIN (quad - indefinite)

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Scott BULLOCH, 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC, 26.Ludovic BOI *two to be omitted*

In: Branko JELIC (return from illness), Scott BULLOCH (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Jimmy DOWNEY (knee - 1 week), Brent GRIFFITHS (hamstring - 4 weeks), Jamie HARNWELL (knee - 5 weeks), Victor SIKORA (hamstring - 2 weeks)

*Head-to-Head: Played 7: Wellington Phoenix wins 4, Perth Glory wins 2 (1 draw)