The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will travel to New Plymouth to take on Wellington Phoenix on Saturday knowing that a win could catapult them into the top six.
The Hyundai A-League ladder is tightening up as we move into the final 10 rounds, with just three points separating the fifth-placed Perth Glory and the eighth-placed Wanderers.
Buoyed by the midweek signing of striker Ryan Griffiths, the Wanderers will look to claim what would be their fourth win of the campaign against a Wellington side who are hunting for their sixth win of the season.
History tell us that it’s bound to be a tight contest: of the 13 meetings between the Wanderers and the Phoenix, both sides have claimed five wins a piece, with the points being shared on three occasions.
The last of those fixtures came in Round 11 of this season, where the Phoenix fought back from a two-goal deficit to steal a point with a 2-2 draw in Auckland.
The Phoenix come into this match off the back of another 2-2 last week, where they shared the points with Adelaide in sweltering heat at Coopers Stadium.
The Wanderers meanwhile will look to bounce back from the heartache of a last-minute defeat to Brisbane Roar.
Tony Popovic will be able to call on new signing Griffiths, while Brendon Santalab could well lead the line after Lachlan Scott was left out of the squad.
The Red & Black will have to do without two key starters though, as Mitch Nichols misses out on making his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance having not been selected for the trip, while right-back Scott Neville serves a one-game suspension after his dismissal last week.
The game marks the start of what promises to be a busy but exciting period for the Wanderers, with the start of the Asian Champions League later this month.
Wellington Phoenix vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 4 February, 5:35pm
TV: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505
Radio: ABC Grandstand, Hawkesbury Radio
Online: Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvWSW
Western Sydney Wanderers FC Squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Aritz BORDA, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29. Ryan GRIFFITHS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 7.Steven LUSTICA (promoted), 13.Bruno PIÑATARES (promoted), 17.Aritz BORDA (returns from suspension), 29. Ryan GRIFFITHS (new signing)
Outs: 6.Mitch NICHOLS (not selected), 12.Scott NEVILLE (suspended – 1 match), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (not selected)