The penultimate match of round one sees Perth Glory travel to Wellington to take on the Phoenix. The match, often referred to as the “Distance Derby”, is one of the longest distances a team has to travel for a league game throughout the world.
Perth haven’t performed all that well during the preseason, recently falling to Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory. However they are one of only five A-League teams that remain in the FFA Cup as the newly formed competition heads into its quarterfinals. The major concern for Perth this season will be their attack. They scored the fewest goals of any team last season and coach Kenny Lowe knows this is an area that they need to majorly improve on this time around.
Wellington enter round one on the back of a rather successful preseason despite being eliminated by Adelaide in the first round of the FFA Cup. They looked good throughout the Football United Tour, picking up a well deserved 2-1 victory over West Ham United before narrowly going down 1-0 to Newcastle United. More importantly for coach Ernie Merrick is that it appears his goal scorers are back firing with Jeremy Brockie, Michael McGlinchey, Kenny Cunningham and Roy Krishna all finding the back of the net regularly during preseason matches.
Neither of these teams have been given any hope of making the playoffs by most betting agencies but that won’t stop them from coming out firing and looking to start their season with a victory.
Head to head:
Played 23. Wellington 10, Perth 8, Draws 5.
Last meeting: 9 March, 2014 (Westpac Stadium). Wellington 1-1 Perth
Wellington Phoenix (Probable):
Moss; Muscat, Durante, Sigmund, Doyle; Bonevacia, Riera, Rodriguez; Burns, Brockie. McGlinchey.
Perth Glory (Probable):
Vukovic; Risdon, Djubic, Thwaite, Jamieson; Garcia, Griffiths, Hersi, Nichols; Harold, Keogh.
Wellington Phoenix: Kenny Cunningham (Suspended), Jason Hicks (Knee 1-2 weeks)
Perth Glory: Riley Woodcock, Daniel De Silva, Jordan Thurtell (All international duty), Rueben Zadkovich (back), Sidnei Sciola (calf)
The Spanish defensive midfielder was Wellington’s player of the year last season despite missing a large number of games through injury. Despite his extended break he was still selected for the A-League Allstars team putting in a top performance against Juventus. Riera is a real workhorse for his team, both on defence and attack, and you’d expect him to start the season with a performance that sees him heavily involved all over the park.
Wellington 2-0 Perth
Wellington obviously have the edge over Perth and I expect this to continue into their first encounter of the new season. Look for new signing McGlinchey to get on the scoresheet as he begins his new career phase as a Phoenix player.
With the exception of Perth’s 4-2 victory over Wellington last season, you have to go back all the way to season 2010/11 for the last time either team scored more than twice in a fixture against each other.Google+