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A-League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Heart
One place but eight points divide the two clubs on the A-League table, with the Heart facing the daunting task of taking on the Wanderers in front of their fanatic home crowd
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Polenz, T-Stanley, Beauchamp, D'Apuzzo
Hersi, Ono, Poljak, Mooy
Walker, Gerhardt, Colosimo, Mitchinson
Kalmar, Garcia, Thompson
Williams, Tadic, Germano
Last Sunday's come-from-behind 2-1 win over Brisbane - their third over the champions this season - all but confirms the Wanderers will play finals football in their debut campaign.
Tony Popovic's side sit comfortably in fourth spot and just three points behind Adelaide in that crucial second position.
Heart have also been in fairly strong form of late and sit just one place - although eight points - behind this Saturday's opponents.
While they are without captain Fred for up to a month with a quad injury, it did not stop them from registering a well-deserved 2-0 win over the high-flying Reds in their last match.
In good news for the Heart's finals hopes, striker Eli Babalj has returned to the club following a stint with Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
The 20-year-old could feature in the squad for this match should his international clearance come through.
Left full-back Aziz Behich is out through suspension and could be replaced by Sam Mitchinson. Former Australia international Vince Grella is rumoured to be nearing his first appearance for the club, but has not been named in the squad.
The hosts, meanwhile, have almost a full squad to choose from, with only Tahj Minniecon - out for the season - missing for Popovic. Rocky Visconte is one of six players promoted into the squad and will be hoping to make his Wanderers bow.
The Wanderers won the only previous meeting between these two sides, with a Mark Bridge strike and a Patrick Gerhardt own-goal giving them a 2-1 triumph at Parramatta Stadium in November.
The Heart have been one of the form sides in the A-League in the past six weeks, but much of that success has come in the comfortable surrounds of AAMI Park.
Aloisi's side have struggled on the road and their last visit to Sydney saw them give up a 1-0 lead in the dying minutes to lose to the Sky Blues.
A heaving Parramatta Stadium is the last place any side with troubles in front of the away fans will want to come, with the Wanderers fans providing great support for their boys and an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams.
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Top 3 Predictions
Western Sydney Wanderers 0-8 Melbourne Heart
- 33.33 %
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Melbourne Heart
- 22.22 %
Western Sydney Wanderers 8-0 Melbourne Heart
- 11.11 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||16/03/2013||Melbourne Heart 1 - Western Sydney Wanderers 3|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||26/01/2013||Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||02/11/2012||Western Sydney Wanderers 2 - Melbourne Heart 1|
|Western Sydney Wanderers|
|21/04/2013||Western Sydney Wanderers 0 - Central Coast Mariners 2||AUS1|
|12/04/2013||Western Sydney Wanderers 2 - Brisbane Roar 0||AUS1|
|29/03/2013||Newcastle Jets 0 - Western Sydney Wanderers 3||AUS1|
|23/03/2013||Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - Sydney FC 1||AUS1|
|16/03/2013||Melbourne Heart 1 - Western Sydney Wanderers 3||AUS1|
|-||Jacopo La Rocca||Defender|
|6||Patrick Nyema Gerhardt||Defender|