Preview: Sydney FC v Perth Glory

It’s only been about three weeks since these two sides met in their postponed clash at Campbelltown Stadium.

Date: Saturday, February 11 Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT, 4:45pm AWST Venue: Sydney Football Stadium

Head-to-head Played 20: Wins: Sydney 9, Perth 4, Draws: 7

Previous encounter Sydney FC 1 Perth Glory 1, Campbelltown Stadium, January 2012

History: It-s only been about three weeks since these two sides met in their postponed clash at Campbelltown Stadium. In that clash, Sydney went within two minutes or so of recording what would have been just their second win from the last nine games. But, this Glory side are a resilient lot and Adam Hughes was on hand to score an 88th-minute equaliser. The draw was probably a deserved one for Glory, especially considering Sydney pinched a win when these two sides first met at nib Stadium in July. In that match, Mark Bridge caught Glory on the hop with a fine goal on the stroke of half-time. but that was merely the cue for Perth to launch an amazing assault on the Sydney goal in the second half that really should have produced an equaliser. However, while the Sky Blues are hurting big time over last week-s thrashing by Newcastle, they can take heart from the fact that Glory haven-t beaten them since November 2009.

Form: Past five matches: Sydney: LDWDL Perth Glory: WDWWW

Sydney-s form in the last few months has been especially mediocre, even before last week-s 5-2 loss to the Jets. That scoreline probably flatters Newcastle somewhat. Sydney were very good early on but lost the plot a little before half-time as the Jets scored three goals. However, the Sky Blues responded by scoring twice themselves and looked to be threatening what may have been a famous comeback draw before the Jets caught them on the hop at the end. Though this result is perhaps not quite as bad as it looks, the fact Sydney have conceded 22 goals in the last nine games, and have only scored 12 themselves, speaks volumes.

As for Perth, life is pretty comfortable for Ian Ferguson and his merry men. Wow, how many times have we been able to say that in the last few years! Since that draw with Sydney, the Glory have convincingly beaten Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United and Gold Coast United, scoring 11 goals along the way and conceding just one. It-s important to remember, though, that all those clubs are struggling and bigger tests, like Central Coast, await Perth.

Match Committee: Sydney FC look likely to regain Brett Emerton from a hamstring injury but will lose skipper Terry McFlynn for a one-week suspension after he accrued too many yellow cards. Joel Chianese or Mitchell Mallia may come in for McFlynn.

Perth Glory, meanwhile, are still without defenders Josh Mitchell (knee) and Todd Howarth (groin), although Dean Heffernan stepped in for Howarth with aplomb against Gold Coast on Monday night. Evan Berger continues to battle hamstring issues, but Travis Dodd is now available to play his role.

Danger men: Brett Emerton - When the going gets tough, the tough get going. A year ago, Emerton was instrumental in helping Blackburn avoid relegation through a good late run and don-t discount him making a significant late-season contribution again after being forced to watch last week-s embarrassing result from the stands.

Steve McGarry - Now that he-s started scoring for Glory, the Scotsman just doesn-t want to stop. McGarry was in the right place at the right time last week to score the opener against Gold Coast, ghosting his way unmarked to the back post to nod the ball home. It-s these little things that have proved so important for Glory during their eight-match run.

At the end of the day… This looms as a pivotal clash as Sydney looks to bounce back from last week-s humiliation, while Perth still need to establish themselves as a bone-fide finals contender, despite their lofty position on the table. As already mentioned, Perth have beaten up the bottom three sides in the last few matches and, in all fairness, their performances against Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Heart during their eight-match run have also been solid. But a Sydney FC side desperate to atone for last week-s effort will be a massive test, especially as Glory haven-t managed to beat the Sky Blues for just over two years. But if the Glory do take the points here, they are poised to pounce if Wellington (second) or Brisbane (slip) as they have several matches at home to finish the campaign.

However, most of the attention in this clash will be on the Sky Blues. Coach Vitezslav Lavicka cut an angry figure - well as peeved as he can get - when he described his defending as an embarrassment after the Newcastle clash. His assistant Zeljko Kalac was ropable at half-time and let fly at the Sydney players in a big way. So expect some pretty serious soul searching from the boys in blue as they look to get claw their way back into finals contention. But all the soul searching in the world is useless without the systems to back them up and that-s where the Sky Blues may fall down against Perth Glory this Saturday night.


Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam Reddy, 3. Jamie Coyne, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Hirofumi Moriyasu, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel, 9. Bruno Cazarine, 10. Nick Carle, 12. Shannon Cole, 16. Joel Chianese, 18. Juho Makela, 20. Ivan Necevski, 21. Scott Jamieson, 22. Nathan Sherlock, 23. Rhyan Grant, 24. Mitch Mallia *two to be omitted*

In: Mitch Mallia (promoted), Jamie Coyne (promoted), Brett Emerton (returns from injury)

Out: Mark Bridge (ankle - 4 weeks), Terry McFlynn (suspended - 1 week)

Unavailable: Dimi Petratos (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Sebastian Ryall (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Terry Antonis (hamstring, 3 weeks)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny Vukovic (Gk), 3.Bas Van Den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 7.Jacob Burns (C) 8.Adam Hughes, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 13.Travis Dodd, 14.Steven McGarry, 15.Tommy Amphlett, 18 Jesse Makarounas, 19. Josh Risdon, 20. Neil Young, 21.Mile Sterjovski, 27.Andrezinho 35. Dean Heffernan *two to be omitted*

In: 15.Tommy Amphlett (Promoted), 18 Jesse Makarounas (Promoted), 20. Neil Young (Returns From Injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 2. Josh Mitchell (Knee), 6.Chris Coyne (Achilles), 11.Victor Sikora (Hip - Long Term Injury List), 12.Scott Neville (Knee), 16.Evan Berger (Hamstring), 17.Todd Howarth (Groin), 22.Adam Taggart (Qantas Australian U23 duty)