Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory

Early in the season reigning champions Melbourne Victory routed Western Sydney Wanderers on home soil, however this contest at Marconi Stadium is likely to be tight and combative.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory

Sunday 9 November 2014

Marconi Stadium, Sydney

Local kick-off: 3pm

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Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #WSWvMVC

The Wanderers, perhaps buoyed by the now-famous continental exploits of their male counterparts, have found some serious form of late.

In a matter of a month or so, they have knocked over Westfield W-League elite Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC, and were just minutes away from claiming the scalp of 2012 queens Canberra United last weekend. Now they tackle current title holders Melbourne Victory on their own turf.

Despite a lack of star power, the Wanderers boast a strong team spirit and believe they can hold anyone on their day. Recent results back that view.

The Victory, for their part, have suddenly suffered a form slump losing three on the trot. It is an alarming run given the champs had been impressive until that point with a five-match undefeated streak.

Another defeat here would seriously jeopardise the Victory’s chances of retaining their grip on the title. Despite last week’s 3-1 home defeat against leaders Perth Glory, the Victory showed plenty of positives signs.

This week they are buoyed by the return of Lisa De Vanna and also championship-winning forward Caitlin Friend who returns after a spell in England with Notts County.

They also hope to have Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey back from injury, though American defender Lauren Barnes misses the visit to Sydney due to a family wedding.

The Victory are one of only two clubs the Wanderers are yet to beat in their short three-year history. Will it happen on Sunday in Sydney’s south-west?

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1. Trudy Burke (gk), 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Jessica Seaman, 4. Caitlin Jarvie, 5. Helen Petinos, 6. Rachael Soutar, 7. Kendall Johnson. 8. Grace Henry, 9. Keelin Winters, 10. Michelle Carney, 11. Lorena Bugden, 12. Hannah Beard, 14. Demi Koulizakis, 16. Linda O’Neill, 20. Sham Khamis (gk)

Ins: none

Outs: none

Unavailable: Jordan Baker, Chloe O’Brien (both Westfield Young Matildas)

Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Brianna DAVEY, 2. Hannah BREWER, 4. Alexandra NATOLI, 6. Gema SIMON, 7. Stephanie CATLEY (C), 8. Amy JACKSON, 9. Racheal QUIGLEY, 10. Christine NAIRN, 11. Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Ella MASTRANTONIO, 14. Tiffany ELIADIS, 17. Gulcan KOCA, 18. Elli REED, 29. Caitlin FRIEND, 30. Erin HERD (gk)

Ins: Brianna Davey (returns from injury), Lisa De Vanna (returns from suspension), Caitlin Friend (new signing), Erin Herd (temporary injury replacement)

Outs: Lauren Barnes (unavailable – 1 week), Alexandra Gummer (omitted), Cassandra Dimovski (concussion – 1 week), Tori Snelleksz (contract expired)

Unavailable: Emma Checker, Beattie Goad (both Westfield Young Matildas)