Friday’s concluding Round 9 match is one of the most important ever faced by Western Sydney Wanderers as crosstown rivals Sydney FC visit.
The Wanderers are enjoying an impressive mid-season form spurt that has accrued seven points in three matches. Their home win over Melbourne City a fortnight ago at this same Popondetta Park venue will remain a famous result for years to come.
But now they need to maintain the momentum if they are to claim an unexpected finals’ ticket. They currently sit two points behind City and five behind third-placed Sydney FC, and hopes of overhauling the Sky Blues partly rest on a win here.
The Wanderers knocked over Newcastle Jets 2-1 on the road on Boxing Day, while Sydney FC collected a hard-fought 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar last Friday.
The Sky Blues suddenly have attacking firepower to burn with their new signing - Nigerian headline import Francisca Ordega - a chance to start, along with injury-returnee Caitlin Foord.
However, experienced midfielder Teresa Polias will be missing from the Sky Blues’ line-up after collecting another caution in the win over the Roar.
The last time the two teams met Sydney FC collected an at-times tempestuous 2-0 win over their rivals at Allianz Stadium earlier this season.
The Wanderers have a modest record in the fixture with just one win from nine outings, though that 2-1 home victory a few years back was arguably the club’s most memorable result until their recent win over City.
Making it two wins over Sydney FC would really set-up a thrilling final month of the campaign for the Wanderers.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Friday 30 December 2016
Venue: Popondetta Park
Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (7:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Assistant Referee 1: Nia Southwell
Assistant Referee 2: Lauren Hargrave
Fourth Official: Katie Patterson
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WLeague #BeReal
To purchase tickets visit www.w-league.com.au/tickets
Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1.Jada WHYMAN (gk), 2.Caitlin COOPER (c), 4.Chloe O’BRIEN, 5.Helen PETINOS, 6.Kendall FLETCHER, 7.Sarah YATIM, 8.Erica HALLOWAY, 9.Katie STENGEL, 10.Paige NIELSEN, 12.Rachel LOWE, 13.Eliza AMMENDOLIA, 15.Ellie CARPENTER, 16.Alix ROBERTS, 17.Alyssa ROSE, 18.Angelique HRISTODOULOU, 22.Casey DUMONT (gk) **one to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Alyssa ROSE (promoted)
Unavailable: 23.Joey BURGESS (calf injury – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Sham KHAMIS (gk), 3.Remy SIEMSEN, 4.Elizabeth RALSTON, 6.Servet UZUNLAR, 7.Nicola BOLGER, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Francisca ORDEGA, 11.Natalie TOBIN, 12.Olivia PRICE, 13.Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 16.Hannah BACON, 15.Sarah EASTHOPE (gk), 17.Kyah SIMON, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 20.Princess IBINI **one to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Olivia PRICE (promoted), 16. Hannah BACON (promoted)
Outs: 2. Teresa POLIAS (suspended – 1 match)