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Wellington Phoenix - Sydney FC Preview

Goal.com logo Goal.com 06-04-2017

Wellington Phoenix are still in the hunt for the A-League finals but need to beat runaway premiers Sydney FC to keep their top-six hopes alive.

SQUADS

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, 99 Shane SMELTZ

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Ryan LOWRY (promoted), 11.Hamish WATSON (promoted), 24.Logan ROGERSON (promoted), 25.Sarpreet SINGH (promoted)

Outs: 6.Dylan FOX (injured), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (injured)

Unavailable: 15.James MCGARRY (glandular fever – indefinite), 16.Louis FENTON (groin – season)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.Charles LOKOLINGOY, 28.Nicola KULESKI

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Jordy BUIJS (returns from injury), 11.Bernie IBINI (returns from injury), 24.Charles LOKOLINGOY (promoted), 28.Nicola KULESKI (promoted)

Outs: 6.Josh BRILLANTE (suspended – 1 match), 13.Brandon O'NEILL (suspended – 1 match)

Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – 1 week).

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

The Phoenix have found some late-season form and with their finals hopes still alive when this match kicks off, don't expect anything less than a fully committed Wellington side when they host the Sky Blues.

Buoyed by their head-turning 3-0 win away to Melbourne Victory on Sunday, the Phoenix know three points will put pressure on both Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory later on Saturday evening.

The last time Sydney were in Wellington they needed a 90th-minute goal from Milos Ninkovic to take all three points home with them.

Sydney coach Graham Arnold admitted afterwards they'd been outplayed for large parts of the game.

'Quest for records driving Sydney FC'

But even without suspended midfielders Josh Brillante and Brandon O'Neill - they controversially picked up yellow cards at Arnold's behest last week - the Sky Blues will still be warm favourites as they look for a sixth successive win to equal Brisbane Roar's all-time points record in the A-League.

Sydney crushed Melbourne City 3-0 last week to move to 62 points for the 2016-17 campaign - 17 ahead of second-placed Victory heading into Round 26.

The visitors regain the services of Jordy Buijs and Bernie Ibini after they missed last week's game through injury, while youngsters Charles Lokolingoy and Nicola Kuleski have also been added to the travelling party.

Wellington have lost Dylan Fox and Matthew Ridenton to injury for this fixture, with co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre bringing in Ryan Lowry, Hamish Watson, Logan Rogerson and Sarpreet Singh.

ROUTE TO GOAL

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Last week, the Phoenix scored three against Victory, but in reality it could have been more as they missed at least three more golden opportunities late in the game.

But Wellington deserve plenty of credit as they have scored eight unanswered goals in their last two outings and come into their final home game of the season bang in form.

Top scorer Roy Krishna hasn't netted in his last two games, but he finally has some help up front with Roly Bonevacia, Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler all getting on the scoresheet in recent weeks.

Bobo: Sydney must become A-League champions

After a stellar all-round season, Sydney's Brazilian striker Bobo has found his goalscoring mojo recently, scoring six times in the last five games.

Even if the home side can keep the Sky Blues' starting attackers quiet, Arnold can always introduce the speedy Bernie Ibini, the wily David Carney or the robust Matt Simon from the bench.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Roly Bonevacia. With rumours of a move to Western Sydney Wanderers swirling around pre-game, Dutch maestro Bonevacia put on a masterclass at AAMI Park last week, scoring two long-range stunners to drive Phoenix to a rare win in Victoria.

FORM LINES

Wellington Phoenix: WDLWW

Sydney FC: WWWWW

PREDICTION

Wellington Phoenix 1-2 Sydney FC

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