Another red hot atmosphere is in store at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday when Western Sydney Wanderers host Sydney FC in the ninth A-League Sydney Derby. After a loss and a draw in the two derby games earlier in the season the Wanderers will hope to brighten an otherwise frustrating campaign with a win over their local rivals.
As is always the case with derby games not too much should be read in to their respective positions on the ladder, and Sydney will be wary of a backlash from the last placed Wanderers. The Sky Blues have been in great form since the Asian Cup break – scoring three or more goals per game – and are looking to strengthen their claim for a place in the top four.
In particular the Wanderers need to contain Marc Janko, who as scored in each of those four games, as well as the potential for another goalscoring cameo from the bench by Shane Smeltz. Western Sydney’s task is made harder by an enforced defensive reshuffle thanks to suspensions for Mateo Poljak and Matthew Spiranovic.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold also has a decision to make on his defence. Rhyan Grant impressed as a substitute against the Mariners when he replaced the struggling Aaron Calver at right back, while Seb Ryall was unlucky to have been left out of the squad.
Despite being unbeaten in the last three derbies Sydney FC have not won at Pirtek Stadium since the very first encounter back in October 2012. The overall record between the two sides is three wins apiece and two draws, and another tight encounter should be expected on Saturday night.
Saturday 28th February, Pirtek Stadium Parramatta 19:30
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