A-League Rev-Up: A 'very, very confident' Sydney FC set for SCG test

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Could a new wicket spring a Sydney derby surprise?

After a controversial first round of A-League action, the competition will hope a Sydney derby can draw the attention back to the football.

Incidentally, the game will be taking place at the Sydney Cricket Ground - a venue that may well add some extra spin to what's otherwise been a one-way derby in recent seasons.

Elsewhere, two of last year's strugglers are out to build on promising starts and prove the doubters wrong in a pair of under-rated fixtures. 


Howzat? SCG set to test Sydney FC's derby dominance


Sydney FC

The Sydney derby has become a one-sided affair in recent times, but could a historic clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground offer up an unexpected bouncer?

As Western Sydney Wanderers have learned the hard way, playing out of an oval stadium doesn't make for the best football experience with Spotless Stadium making for a less than impressive temporary home for the red and black.

The Wanderers in fact won just two games at Spotless last season as the club averaged their lowest season attendance in history.

Sydney FC must now learn to cope without Allianz Stadium and will call the SCG home for a handful of games this season.

Their first taste of the venue will come on Saturday in the Sydney derby, and though the change of venues could throw a spanner in the works, you can't blame defender Alex Wilkinson fo being confident. 

"Obviously the belief when we come up against the Wanderers is very good because of the record we’ve got," Wilkinson said. 

"That gives us a little bit of a mental edge there I suppose and after beating them a couple of weeks ago we’ll go into the game very, very confident."

Having swept past Western Sydney 3-0 in the FFA Cup semi-finals, the Sky Blues have now lost just once across the past 13 derbies and scored 10 times in the three fixtures last season. 

Sydney FC were also undefeated in the last seven derbies at Allianz Stadium and will be hoping to continue that form at the SCG.

Hoping for a big crowd, the pitch will be located in the centre of the stadium for the derby, while future matches will see the pitch moved closer to one side. 

With so much distance between the pitch and the stands, the Sky Blues could find themselves at sea in front of their own supporters and the Wanderers will be hoping to finally sink them.

While fortunate to draw with Perth Glory in Round 1, Markus Babbel's side showed glimpses of promise and a derby might be exactly what they need to find their feet under a new coach. 


Mike Mulvey out to end Melbourne City drought


Mike Mulvey Central Coast Mariners

New Central Coast Mariners coach Mike Mulvey wants to instill a winning mentality into his side and will have the perfect chance to sow the right seeds against City.

The Mariners have failed to beat City in their past nine encounters - City's best undefeated run against any side.

After beginning Mulvey's reign with an encouraging 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar, Central Coast return to Gosford with a spring in their step and a win in their sights. 

While victories have been hard to come by against City, the Mariners have scored six goals in the last three games in which they've hosted the club.

Goals doesn't appear to be something Mulvey's men will be short on this season, particularly with Ross McCormack leading the line, but now it's a matter of making sure those strikes don't go to waste.


Wellington Phoenix chasing club history


Wellington Phoenix

Mark Rudan began his A-League coaching career with a bang after guiding the Nix to a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets last week.

While not a perfect performance by any means, it was a promising showing and leaves them on the cusp of their best ever start to an A-League season.

Never have Wellington won their first two games to start a season - something they'll be looking to do against Brisbane on Sunday.

Unfortunately for the Nix they've won just one of their past eight games against the Roar, with their past three encounters ending in draws.

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Both sides are boosted by strikers with a history of scoring against their opponents with Wellington's Roy Krishna scoring three goals in his past four games against Brisbane and Adam Taggart bagging four in his past three against the Nix. 

The attackers were both also on the score sheet last week and look set to be among the goals heavily this season. 

After such a dramatic few seasons, the Nix look like they're on the cusp of turning it all around under Rudan, who would love to start his time in charge with a slice of club history. 

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