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Glory ready for Blues grudge match

Glory ready for Blues grudge match

Friday night football throws up a Round 25 A-League cracker with Perth Glory hosting Sydney FC.

The WA outfit look to be over their mid-season slump and are building momentum for the Finals Series but the Sky Blues' incredible away record makes them a highly dangerous opponent.

A fortnight ago Perth’s season appeared in free-fall, without a win in nine games and moving the wrong way on the table. But two straight wins and all of a sudden they are dreaming of the Premiers’ Plate again.

Level on points with Melbourne Victory at the top, Glory have a decent run home and will believe they can win all three matches.

However, this looms as their toughest test in a while. It was just a couple of months ago Sydney FC came to town and left with an impressive 3-1 win, despite finishing with nine men.

The Sky Blues come to town with just one win in their last three but shooting for a 12th straight game on their travels without defeat. If Graham Arnold’s side are to stay alive for the Premiers' Plate – or even just a home final – then they will feel they have to get something out of this clash.

Glory will be without midfielder Mitch Nichols for the rest of the season after the club released him from his loan deal.

Nichols will return to parent club Cerezo Osaka in Japan. Combative midfielder Ruben Zadkovich is also out for at least a week with a knee problem.

Sydney will be forced into at least one change with Mickael Tavares not travelling due to a groin problem. The versatile Rhyan Grant will take his place.

The only other change might come in defence with youngster Alex Gersbach an option to return at left-back.

Either Nikola Petkovic or Matt Jurman would make way if Arnold opts to re-call the teenager.

Glory midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has scored in all three of his previous Hyundai A-League appearances against Sydney FC.

Sydney FC have won eight and drawn two of their Hyundai A-League games that Marc Janko has scored in.

Just three of the last 16 Hyundai A-League games between these two sides have been won by Perth Glory (10 Sydney wins, three draws).

Sydney FC has been given a Hyundai A-League-high five red cards this season. There have been five red cards in the last six games between these sides, with four being given to Sydney FC players.

Glory boss Kenny Lowe has started with playmaker Nebojsa Marinkovic on the bench the last couple of weeks and the move has paid off, with two strong wins.

But as the Serbian showed against Newcastle last week, he is capable of some special goals and it will be interesting to see if he remains among the substitutes for this one.

And with Sidnei Sciola playing much closer to Andy Keogh, it clearly has worked with the Irishman revelling in having a second striker to play off.

Injuries means there is little room for Graham Arnold to move with his attack. Janko should benefit from a full week of training and he’ll be desperate to get back among the goals after failing to find the back of the net in his last two matches.

Tags: CFR Cluj vs FC Botosani | Klubi 04 vs Kiffen IF

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