The Distance Derby
In recent seasons, matches between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix may not have drawn as much attention as Saturday night’s clash will. While the Glory sit at the top of the table, 11 points ahead of the Phoenix recent form suggests that fans could be set for an entertaining clash.
Mark Rudan’s side have been the feel good story of the campaign to date, while the Glory have become one of the favourites under Tony Popovic’s guidance. The home side are set to be boosted by the return of Chris Ikonomidis from international duty with the Socceroos.
Glory fans will be hopeful Ikonomidis can continue his form which he displayed at the Asian Cup, establishing himself as one of the national team’s better performers. If the Phoenix are to avoid defeat, they will set a club record of six undefeated matches in a row on the road.
Can sides end their wait?
On paper it looks like a difficult task but as we have seen in the A-League throughout the season, we should expect the unexpected. Central Coast Mariners will enter Saturday’s clash as major outsiders against a Victory side, who has lost just once after dropping their first two matches of the season.
In fact, the Mariners have never defeated the Victory during Kevin Muscat’s time in charge of last season’s champions – a record of 12 wins and four draws.
Elsewhere, Western Sydney Wanderers will be hoping to claim their first victory in seven attempts at ANZ Stadium when they host the Newcastle Jets on Friday night. They have lost their past six outings at the venue.
— Reza Ghoochannejhad (@gh_reza) January 31, 2019
New signings look to make their mark
The January transfer window always presents the chance for players to join different A-League clubs or new faces to arrive in the national competition.
Mitch Duke (Western Sydney) appears set to make his first appearance for the club when they host the Jets after recently returning from Japan, while Antony Golec (Wellington Phoenix) may well make his first appearance after crossing the ditch.
Meanwhile Jem Karacan (Central Coast) and Reza Ghoochannejhad (Sydney FC) will be the newest faces in the competition this weekend with both appearing to be quality arrivals for their respective clubs.