Wellington Phoenix v North Queensland Fury preview

Wellington Phoenix simply require one point against North Queensland Fury tomorrow and they are in the finals for a second consecutive season.

It has come down to the last match of the campaign for them to secure their position in the top six and they can tie it up with the second last match of the 2010/11 A-League regular season.

Newcastle Jets’ 4-0 thrashing of Perth Glory on Thursday has kept the Hunter club in the race but their fate could be decided before they even play as their match against Central Coast Mariners immediately follows the Phoenix v Fury clash.

Ricki Herbert’s men dropped their chance to stitch up a playoffs berth when they lost 2-0 to Sydney FC on Wednesday but he will be sure not to let them go under again, especially against a side who have lost their last seven with their last victory being about two months ago.

The Fury could very well be playing their last A-League match which will have to fire the players up and you can bet they will come out with a no-holds-barred attitude as they will be looking to finish off the tenure of the club with a win – just in case.

Gareth Edds is back for the Fury who will say goodbye to captain UfukTalay, who is playing his last professional match, whilst the Phoenix will regain Ben Sigmund, Manny Muscat and Vince Lia.

Wellington’s form before the midweek loss is good enough to take maximum points here at home and I tip them to just fall in against a determined Fury outfit.

Verdict: Phoenix 2-1

Wellington Phoenix v North Qld Fury
Date: Sunday, 13 February 2011
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Local kick-off: 5:00pm (3.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Peter O'Leary
Match fact: Having won their previous five matches at home, Wellington Phoenix will be aiming to win their sixth home match in a row – a feat that has only occurred three times to date in the Hyundai A-League.
LONGEST WINNING STREAKS AT HOME
8 matches Melbourne Victory Nov-08 to Feb-09
7 Adelaide United Aug-10 to Dec-10
6 Brisbane Roar Nov-08 to Feb-09
5 Wellington Phoenix (from Dec-10)
5 Melbourne Victory Jan-10 to Feb-10
5 Melbourne Victory Feb-06 to Oct-06

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League partner is The Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM and Zinc 100.7 FM (Townsville). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au

Wellington Phoenix squad: 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Nicky WARD, 6. Tim BROWN, 9, Chris GREENACRE, 10, Oscar Roberto CORNEJO, 11. DANIEL, 12. James MUSA, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 15. Jade NORTH, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 19, Danny VUKOVIC, 20, Reece CROWTHER, 21. Marco ROJAS, 23. Dylan MACALLISTER *one to be omitted
In: Ben SIGMUND (returns from suspension), Manny MUSCAT (returns from suspension), Vince LIA (returns from injury)
Out: Sean LOVEMORE, Aaron CLAPHAM (short term replacement ends)
Unavailable: Paul IFILL (leg – 4 weeks), Mark PASTON (gk, knee – season), Leo BERTOS (injury), Vince LIA (injury), Andrew Durante (suspended – 1 match)

North Queensland Fury squad: 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 8. Adam CASEY, 11. David WILLIAMS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 16. Simon STOREY, 17, Alex READ, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22. Lorenzo SIPI, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk)
In: Gareth EDDS (promoted), Lorenzo SIPI (promoted)
Out: Justin PASFIELD (suspended – 2 matches), Panagiotis NIKAS (hamstring strain)
Unavailable: Justin PASFIELD (suspended – 2 matches), Panagiotis NIKAS (hamstring strain – 1 week), Chris PAYNE (knee – season), Isaka CERNAK (groin – 1 week), Matthew HAM (knee – season)

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