Preview: Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers

The second edition of the Sydney derby takes place on Sunday afternoon with both teams facing a potentially pivotal moment of the season.

The Wanderers may have never reached the Westfield W-League semi-finals, and currently the Sky Blues stand in their way as a direct rival for a finals berth.

Sydney FC sit in second two points clear of their opponents and a victory here would create a handy five-point buffer over their neighbours.

As always, one of the sub-plots to this match will be the close relationships between both sets of players, many of whom have grown up together and, in many instances, played together.

Unusually Sydney FC have struggled for goals this term, although the last meeting between the pair – a 2-1 win at Parramatta Stadium – saw the Sky Blues enjoy arguably the most creative form of their season.

Sydney will run out with a much changed line-up from that which earned a crucial 1-0 win at Adelaide United last weekend. They will have their trio of Westfield Matildas available, but Ellyse Perry will again be missing, while midfielder Nicola Bolger has suffered a rare injury and is set to miss out.

Wanderers coach Norm Boardman believes his inexperienced side may have suffered from a touch of stage fright in front of the TV cameras when the pair last met.

“Sydney FC were very much focused on the importance of the derby,” he said. “I think some of our girls might’ve lost that in the bright lights.”

A well-fought and entertaining contest seems assured at the historic Lambert Park, now modernised with the addition of a state-of-the-art artificial surface.

This time last season the Wanderers enjoyed a famous 2-1 win over Sydney FC, which remains their only win on seven attempts over their rivals. Can they improve on that modest record? They are more than capable of doing so and, if they do, Wanderers fans will start to dream of a finals ticket.

Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday 6 December 2015
Lambert Park, Sydney
Local kick-off: 4pm

Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #SYDvWSW

Sydney FC squad: 1. Michelle Betos (gk), 2. Elizabeth Ralston, 4. Sunny Franco, 5. Jasmyne Spencer, 6. Teresa Polias (c), 8. Amy Harrison, 9. Princess Ibini, 11. Natalie Tobin, 12. Olivia Price, 14. Alanna Kennedy, 15. Teigen Allen, 16. Hannah Bacon, 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Sham Khamis (gk), 19. Leena Khamis, 20. Lyndsay Kohlet

Ins: Hannah Bacon (promoted), Amy Harrison, Alanna Kennedy, Kyah Simon (all return from Westfield Matildas duty)

Outs: Nicola Bolger (hamstring - 1 week), Heidi Makrillos (omitted), Ellyse Perry (cricket commitments)

Unavailable: Renee Rollason (knee – 3 weeks)

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 3. Carmelina Moscato, 4. Chloe O’Brien, 6. Rachael Soutar, 7. Helen Petinos, 8. Erica Halloway, 9. Elizabeth Grey, 10. Michelle Carney, 11. Keelin Winters (c), 12. Hannah Beard, 14. Demi Koulizakis, 15. Ellie Carpenter, 16. Linda O’Neill, 17. Alix Roberts, 20. Jada Whyman (gk)

Ins: none

Outs: Teagan Micah (injury – 2 weeks)