Match Preview: RZ expecting testing Distance Derby duel

Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich is tipping Friday evening’s home clash with Wellington Phoenix to develop into a testing Distance Derby duel (kick-off at 7.30pm – tickets HERE).

The men in purple will be looking to make it back-to-back home wins having downed reigning champions Western United at Macedonia Park a fortnight ago, while Phoenix have lost just once in their last five games and were impressive winners over Adelaide United on Saturday.

In addition, the last ten meetings between the two sides have yielded an almost even split of four wins for Glory, five for Phoenix and one draw and Zadkovich believes the scene is set for another closely-contested match-up in Round 9.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“They’re a very well coached team,” he said.

“[Phoenix Head Coach] Ufuk Talay is an old teammate of mine from the Sydney FC days… he’s one that even way back then, I had a lot of admiration for his football brain and how he went about his business as a player.

“He’s a fantastic coach, you can tell that they’re very well-drilled, have some very good patterns of play and certainly create a lot of chances.

“I think they’re a good team that, a little bit like us, should have picked up more points throughout this early part of the season.

“So I think we’ll have a very tough challenge on our hands on Friday night and their performance last week against Adelaide showed that.”

Glory were, of course, edged out by Macarthur FC in Round 8, but the Head Coach felt that they were desperately unfortunate not to have left Campbelltown Stadium with at least a point and that the progress his playing group is making is very apparent.

“We’re still very early on in a building phase as a club,” he said, “however, I can see big improvements week to week and I can see us edging closer and closer towards being a really good team.

“I thought in the last 180 minutes of football, we’ve played some really good stuff.

“We won one game against last year’s champions and went away from home and totally outplayed Macarthur in my eyes and didn’t get the points.

“There are still definitely some areas to work on in both boxes, but there are some big positives there.

“We’re very happy to be home this week and we’re really excited for Friday night.

“It [getting a win on Friday] would mean a lot to everyone; the players and the staff.

“They’ve been working really hard and it would be nice to get points again for our very loyal Members and fans, the ones who get down to Macedonia Park.”

He went on to confirm that the squad is travelling reasonably well in terms of injuries.

“We got through the game pretty well, but it’s a shorter turnaround and the travel makes it difficult,” he said.

“But most guys were moving ok today [Wednesday].

“A few were modified, so we’ll just have to hope that they get through tomorrow’s session and recover well enough to play, but if they don’t, it’s an opportunity for other players that are waiting in the wings.”

Friday’s trip to WA will be just the third time this season that Wellington have had to leave New Zealand, with Talay’s side recording two wins, three draws and one defeat on home soil.

Bulgarian import Bozhidar Kraev has enjoyed a strong start to his A-League career, scoring five goals already, while New Zeleand international Ben Waine has chipped in with three despite only starting three games.

The yellow-and-blacks won on their most recent visit to Perth in April 2021, but Glory lead the overall head-to-head in this fixture by 14 victories to six.

Match Details

ISUZU UTE A-League 2022/23 Season Round 9

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix

Macedonia Park

Friday 23 December 2022

Kick-off: 7.30pm

Perth Glory squad: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.John KOUTROUMBIS, 5.Mark BEEVERS, 6.Aaron MCENEFF, 7.Ryan WILLIAMS, 8.Mustafa AMINI (c), 10.Salim KHELIFI, 11.Ben AZUBEL, 13.Cameron COOK (gk), 14.Jack CLISBY, 16.Keegan JELACIC, 18.David WILLIAMS, 19.Zach DUNCAN, 20.Giordano COLLI, 23.Mitch OXBORROW, 25.Matt HATCH, 28.Trent OSTLER, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 36.Joseph FORDE, 37.Jacob MUIR

Ins: 20.Giordano COLLI, 23.Mitch OXBORROW

Outs: Nil 

Unavailable: 1.Brad JONES (gk) (injured), 21.Anthony BURKE-GILROY (injured), 22.Adrian SARDINERO (injured)

Wellington Phoenix squad:  4. Scott WOOTTON, 5. Steven UGARKOVIC, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 14. Alex RUFER, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 19. Sam SUTTON, 20. Oli SAIL (gk), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS, 31. Yan SASSE, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk).

IN: Nil

OUT: 8. Ben OLD (injured), 18. Ben WAINE (sick).

Unavailable: 3. Finn SURMAN (injured), 8. Ben OLD (injured), 18. Ben WAINE (sick), 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM (injured)