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Brisbane Roar - Wellington Phoenix Preview

Goal.com logo Goal.com 13-04-2017

Brisbane Roar will be dreaming of the AFC Champions League (ACL) when they host Wellington Phoenix, who have little but pride to play for in the final round of the A-League season.

SQUADS

Brisbane Roar squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 25.Kye ROWLES, 26.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 50.Dane INGHAM **two to be omitted**

Ins: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (promoted), 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS (promoted), 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN (promoted), 11.Tommy OAR (returns from injury), 22.Thomas BROICH (promoted), 25.Kye ROWLES (promoted), 50.Dane INGHAM (promoted)

Outs: 5.Corey BROWN (not selected), 15.ARANA (hamstring - TBC), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (not selected), 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) (not selected), 46.Cameron CRESTANI (not selected)

Unavailable: 4.Daniel BOWLES (knee - season), 17.Matt MCKAY (knee - 3 weeks), 24.Connor O'TOOLE (ankle - 1-2 weeks)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 24.Logan ROGERSON, 25.Sarpreet SINGH, 30.Oliver SAIL (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 24.Logan ROGERSON (promoted), 25.Sarpreet SINGH (promoted), 30.Oliver Sail (gk) (promoted)

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Outs: 99.Shane SMELTZ (released)

Unavailable: 6.Dylan FOX (knee - season), 15.James MCGARRY (glandular fever), 16.Louis FENTON (groin - season), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (knee - season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Roar have their eyes on third place in the A-League and the potential ACL qualifying berth that could trickle down to that position, assuming either Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory win the championship.

Brisbane will achieve that if they beat Wellington and Melbourne City lose or draw to Perth, or if they draw with Phoenix and the FFA Cup-winners lose.

Aloisi: Kashima win 'huge' for Brisbane Roar

Only a heavy defeat would see Roar in danger of dropping out of the top four, but they certainly won't want back-to-back A-League losses heading into the finals.

Tommy Oar, Thomas Broich and Thomas Kristensen returned to Brisbane's squad for Wednesday's famous 2-1 win over Kashima Antlers in the ACL after missing last week's loss away to Glory, and the midfield trio should be involved versus Wellington as coach John Aloisi seeks to confirm his best XI.

By contrast, Wellington will finish seventh regardless of the result here and while they have nothing to play for in terms of their finishing position, contracts are up for grabs for both players and coaches.

Already Shane Smeltz and Jacob Tratt have been released from the final weeks of their contracts, with the former joining Pusamania Borneo FC in Indonesia's Liga I and the latter returning home to New South Wales for "personal and family reasons".

Shane Smeltz leaves Phoenix

The Phoenix are unbeaten in their last three, including impressive outings against Victory and Sydney in the last fortnight.

Co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre will be interviewed next week with a view to continuing at the helm and a four-match unbeaten streak to end the season – three of them against top four sides – will look a lot better on their job applications than a last-day loss.

The two previous games between these two sides this season have been won by the away team.

Jamie Maclaren came off the bench to grab Roar a late winner in Wellington in mid-January, while goals from Shane Smeltz and Roy Krishna saw the Phoenix hold off a fast-finishing Brisbane six weeks ago at Suncorp Stadium.

ROUTE TO GOAL

When discussing Brisbane's firepower, conversation quickly and inevitably turns to Maclaren.

Quite simply, 'Macca' is on fire and has scored just three less goals than the rest of his team-mates combined this season.

The 23-year-old striker ended his ACL drought with the opener against Kashima, while Brett Holman made it two goals in as many games with the second goal on Wednesday.

Wellington's Fijian speedster Roy Krishna has had an excellent season, netting 11 goals and consistently being his side's most dangerous forward.

Kosta Barbarouses has displayed his best form of the season in the past six weeks and Dutchman Roly Bonevacia will be keen to sign off in style, with a move away from Wellington heavily rumoured.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Brisbane Roar. The owners have donated 1000 tickets for this weekend's game to Logan residents affected by the floods and clean-up volunteers.

FORM LINES (all competitions)

Brisbane Roar: LWWLW

Wellington Phoenix: DLWWD

PREDICTION

Brisbane Roar 2-2 Wellington Phoenix

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