A-League preview: Perth Glory v Sydney FC

Both sides carry vastly understrength defences into this one, with whoever copes best likely to play a huge part in the result
GOAL.com Indonesia   By GOAL.COM


Risdon, Pantelidis, Heffernan, Jamieson
Dodd, Miller, Burns, Nagai
McGarry, Smeltz

Ryall, Calver, McClenahan, Grant
Emerton, Culina, McFlynn
Powell, Del Piero, Yau
It was a poor end to 2012 for both these sides, with Perth Glory going down 1-0 to Central Coast while Sydney FC were outclassed by Adelaide 3-0 on New Year's Eve.

But with a new year brings a fresh start, and both these clubs could do with the three points in this one.

For the fifth-placed Glory, it is a chance to cement their spot in the top six, while the Sky Blues [last spot] are running out of time to make a charge for the finals.

The Glory have a bit of a crisis in defence, with their two first-choice centre-backs Michael Thwaite [injured] and Bas van den Brink [suspended] both unavailable.

It leaves Steve Pantelidis as the club's only fit central defender, with Dean Heffernan a chance to moonlight alongside the former.

But that is nothing compared to the injury woes of Sydney, whose medical staff have been working overtime during the festive period to try and get their stars back on the field.

While Alessandro Del Piero, Ali Abbas, Jason Culina and Joel Chianese are back in the squad, it is also in defence where the Sky Blues have their woes.

Missing are Pascal Bosschaart, Adam Griffiths and Fabio, meaning Rhyan Grant is likely to be at left-back and Trent McClenahan or Sebastian Ryall could play alongside 16-year-old Aaron Calver in the centre.

Star Glory front man Shane Smeltz limped out of training on Thursday but is still likely to take his place.

Still, neither side inspire confidence given their inconsistent form of late and injury problems, particularly in defence.

For that reason, however, there should be a few goals in this one.

The Glory played all over the Sky Blues when they met at ANZ Stadium earlier in the season but paid the price for not taking their chances, with Pantelidis' dismissal turning the game on its head.

The hosts may well be presented with plenty of chances again on Saturday, but must also be wary of a Sydney FC front line which will again feature marquee man Del Piero.

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