The Wanderers will be buzzing from one of their best performances of the season but will face a talented Brisbane Roar side who returned to the winners circle with gritty win over Phoenix last week.
Three games, two competitions, one week.
That’s what's ahead for Roar at Suncorp who face Wanderers on Saturday in the Hyundai A-League, Philippines outfit Global on Tuesday night in an Asian Champions League qualifier before returning to domestic action against Sydney FC next Friday.
While far from a vintage display in Wellington, Brisbane snapped a three-game losing run with a 1-0 win over the Phoenix last weekend.
But despite their recent patchy form, Brisbane remain inside the top four and could move above City into third with a win should results go their way.
Meanwhile, Western Sydney snapped their own six-match winless run with a dominant 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday.
In their most fluent and efficient performance of the season, Wanderers completely outclassed the Jets and appear to be finally reaping the rewards from their positive performances.
Tony Popovic’s side have shown glimpses of their best throughout the season but a lack of cutting edge in the final third has proved costly having recorded nine draws in 16 matches to date.
Youngster Lachlan Scott netted his first Hyundai A-League goal last weekend, while the return from suspension last week of Brendon Santalab is a huge boost.
With the Wanderers on the precipice of the top six (7th on goal difference) and just six points behind fourth-placed Roar, this clash looms as a six-pointer for the Red and Black as they push for a home final.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Brisbane created plenty of chances in Wellington last week but it took a sloppy error from Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante in the late stages to gift Jamie Maclaren the winner.
Maclaren – who was again forced to start from the bench for the second straight game – proved why he’s the Roar’s most potent attacking weapon with an energetic display.
The 22-year-old remains the club’s leading scorer (8 goals) and besides defensive midfielder Thomas Kristensen (4 goals), is the only attacking outlet to have netted more than twice.
Spaniard Manuel Arana has started up top in recent weeks but is better suited in wide areas and looks likely to drop back to the bench.
In positive news, former Socceroo Brett Holman has been named to return and could feature after more than two months out through a knee injury.
For the Wanderers, 19-year-old Lachlan Scott has led the line admirably in the past two games and could well keep his spot after netting against the Jets.
Veteran Brendon Santalab (6 goals) is another option for Tony Popovic in the front third but the 34-year-old has just 20 minutes of football under his belt over the past month following a suspension (ironically at Suncorp).
Nico Martinez and Mitch Nichols have been instrumental in much of Western Sydney’s attacking output in recent weeks and will again be the key to unlocking Brisbane’s defence.
Youngster Jaushua Sotirio has netted twice in the Wanderers’ past three games and looks to be benefitting from a consistent run of games as a starter.
Saturday, 28 January 2017
Brisbane Roar FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: 6:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin
Fourth Official: Alex King
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17. Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Brett HOLMAN (returns from injury) 22.Thomas BROICH (promoted), 33.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)
Outs: 5.Corey BROWN (suspended – 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT, 24.Terry ANTONIS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Steven LUSTICA (promoted), 13.Bruno PIÑATARES (promoted)
Unavailable: 17.Aritz BORDA (suspended – 1 match)
This article was originally published at: www.a-league.com.au/