Perth Glory will fly an extend squad of 18 players to Wellington as Coach Dave Mitchell leaves nothing to chance in the club’s bid to secure three points and a clean sweep of the Phoenix this season.
Perth Glory will fly an extend squad of 18 players to Wellington as Coach Dave Mitchell leaves nothing to chance in the club-s bid to secure three points and a clean sweep of the Phoenix this season.
Star striker Nikita Rukavytsya, tough defender David Tarka and the versatile Mark Lee have been included, as has classy young midfielder Andrija Jukic who receives his first call-up to the senior squad after excelling for the Glory Youth Team this season.
Captain Jamie Coyne is the only exclusion after picking up a calf injury in Perth-s 3-1 defeat over Melbourne last weekend while Adrian Trinidad and Wayne Srhoj have both overcome niggles to travel to the New Zealand capital.
“It-s great that we-ve been able to take a few extra players, it will give us a few options in the way we could line-up,” Mitchell said.
“With Coyney going out we-ll have to make a change to the formula that has been working for us over the last month or so but that-s why you have other players in the squad, there is now an opportunity for someone to come in and I-m confident they-ll get the job done.”
Rukavytsya-s inclusion is a huge boost for Perth-s attack while there are several players who could step into the midfield role vacated by Coyne. Former Celtic player Marc Anthony is a contender to start his first match as he stakes a claim for a full time contract with the club next season.
“I was very happy with the way we worked last week all over the park but Nikita is a proven threat up front and opposition sides definitely worry about him so I-m looking to bring him straight back into the starting line-up,” Mitchell said.
“I haven-t decided on the make-up of the final 15 as yet, there could be several changes and that will make us less predictable. We-re comfortable with the way we-ve been performing and are ready for the challenge that Wellington will throw at us.”
Perth has gone home empty handed in their two previous outings at Westpac Stadium last season however the West Australian-s have enjoyed maximum points in two meetings with Wellington on home turf in 2008/09. Mitchell said he has prepared his players to expect a fired up Phoenix outfit who will come out with a point to prove after being comprehensively beaten 6-1 in Adelaide last Friday.
“They-ll no doubt want to rebound from last weekend and they-re in front of their home fans and have a top four position in their sights, as do we, so it-s a big game for both clubs and I-m sure you-ll see that played out on the pitch.
“At home they-ve been very strong and we-re expecting a tough match but looking forward to taking up the challenge,” said Mitchell.
This weekend marks the start of a hectic second half of December for Perth who will play four matches in 18 days, three of them on the road.
HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE RD15
Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick off: 3.00pm (AWDT)
Match Radio Broadcast on 6PR 882am – click here to listen
Perth Glory Squad: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 3.David TARKA, 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Nick RIZZO, 9.Adrian TRINIDAD, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mark LEE, 22.Wayne SRHOJ, 25.Marc ANTHONY, 28.Andrija JUKIC
* three to be omitted
In: 3.David TARKA (promoted), 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (return from injury), 21.Mark LEE (promoted), 28.Andrija JUKIC (promoted from Youth Team)
Out: 4.Jamie COYNE (calf – 3 weeks)
Unavailable: Josip MAGDIC (ankle – season), AMARAL (hamstring – season), James ROBINSON (abdomen – 3 weeks), Hayden Foxe (leg – test)