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A-League Rev-Up: A must-win for Sydney FC as Rudan's Nix look to rebound

05:37 EAT 18/04/2019
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
The top four all face off in what looms as a revealing weekend of action

A tantalising top-of-the-table clash between Sydney FC and Perth Glory kicks off Round 26 with finals football just around the corner.

Though the Premiers' Plate has been lifted by Tony Popovic's side, the Sky Blues face a stern test to cement second spot with Melbourne Victory breathing down their neck. 

Get revved-up, a huge round of A-League awaits...

A must-win for Sydney FC

While Sydney FC have failed to retain the Premiers' Plate, they can't afford to let their attention slip against Perth Glory. 

The Sky Blues sit just two points clear of third-placed Melbourne Victory, who boast a better goal difference, making this a crucial match for Steve Corica's side. 

“Every game for us is a must-win game, but this is very important,” Corica said.

“It’s massive for our season to now finish second."

Sydney have defeated Glory once this campaign and will back themselves to get the job done at home on Thursday night.

Not only have the Sky Blues won their past five A-League home games against Perth to a margin of 19-1, they've also won five straight A-League matches at Jubilee.

Perth, however, won't be daunted by Sydney's strong home form having found a way to soar on the road this season. 

Glory have avoided defeat in their past 14 away league matches - the second longest undefeated streak in A-League history and just two games shy of Brisbane Roar's current record. 

While they've wrapped up some long-awaited silverware, don't expect Popovic's side to ease up anytime soon as they look to show the A-League they're ready to claim the league double. 

Victory a must for Melbourne in Original Rivalry 

While Kevin Muscat's side will be reliant on Sydney FC slipping up to claim second spot, Victory can't afford to slip up themselves against Adelaide United on Friday night. 

The Reds have responded after confirmation coach Marco Kurz will depart at season's end claiming consecutive wins before being held to a 0-0 draw last time out against Melbourne City.

After beating Victory in their last encounter, Adelaide will welcome Muscat's men to Hindmarsh with open arms as they look spoil their rivals run in to the finals. 

United haven't claimed consecutive wins against Victory since the 2012/13 season but have won four of their last six games played at Coopers Stadium.

While the result will be hard to pick, rest assured the Original Rivalry looks set for another bruising chapter.  

Nix need to rise after Rudan confirms departure

As speculation continued to swirl around the future of Mark Rudan, Wellington Phoenix's form inevitably suffered this month with the club losing consecutive games. 

Rudan has since come out and confirmed his decision to depart at season's end as he looks leave on a high with the Nix.

After a scintillating March, Wellington have struggled to fire in April, while also leaking five goals across two games. 

The dip in form has come at a bad time for the Nix, who sit fifth, one point behind the Reds in fourth. 

A home final would be crucial for Wellington and they'll have to bounce back quickly to keep those hopes alive as they tackle Melbourne City on Sunday.

Rudan's decision to confirm his departure might be just what the club needs to steady the ship or it could potentially see them sink all together.