The second A-League Sydney derby of the season comes to Parramatta on Saturday night as Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC continue their battle to call this city their own. After a 2-0 win at Allianz Stadium in October the Wanderers currently have bragging rights, but the Sky Blues will head across town intent securing their first win in the derby in sixteen months.
The Wanderers have a full squad to select from, giving coach Tony Popovic the opportunity to bring fresh legs into his side. With another tough game in Melbourne on Tuesday evening, their starting line up is likely to show considerable change from the one that suffered a shock loss on New Year’s Day against Wellington – the Wanderers’ first defeat at Pirtek Stadium in a year.
Sydney FC are missing a host of players, with Richard Garcia this week added to an injury list that already includes the likes of Joel Chianese, Rhyan Grant and Peter Triantis. Nick Carle is also unavailable through suspension after picking up a red card against Adelaide, although defender Seb Ryall is back in the squad after missing the trip through injury.
Frank Farina has experienced options to bring into midfield to replace Carle. Brett Emerton, Terry McFlynn and Matt Thompson were all non-starters against Adelaide, and another spot in the starting line up is up for grabs after Hagi Gligor departed for international duty.
In the short history of the Sydney derby there has yet to be a home win. Sydney FC will be hoping to extend that tradition, at a venue where they occasionally played home games prior to the inception of the Wanderers. Including these games Sydney FC have not yet lost a match in Parramatta.
There has been plenty of unwanted attention on the A-League after recent incidents involving fan behaviour inside and outside of stadiums. Let’s hope this derby passes without incident off the pitch, and that the action on it cements its place as one of Sydney’s major sporting events.
Saturday 11th January, Pirtek Stadium Parramatta 19:45
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Tickets (Sold out at time article published)