Round 20 Preview- Perth Glory vs. Brisbane Roar

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Round 20 of the 2015-16 season sees Brisbane travel west to take on Perth Glory for the final time this regular season, with both sides desperate for the win for differing reasons.

Brisbane, who came from behind to rescue a point last week at home to Newcastle, will be seeking to either return to, or extend their lead at the top of the table with just seven games remaining after the weekend.

Perth meanwhile have gone on a five game unbeaten run which has seen them rise from the lower reaches of the table to just three points behind 6th placed Sydney FC, and if results go their way this weekend a win over the league leaders could see the Glory end the weekend in the top six.

As mentioned Brisbane had to come from a goal down to pick up a point last week, with defensive blunders from Corey Brown and James Donachie costing Brisbane in the end. The Roar however were lucky that they still managed to go outright top after results in the other games of the round fell in their favour.

They will need to eradicate those defensive errors this weekend however as Perth showed last week they’re more than capable of capitalising on mistakes at the back in their 2-1 win on the road against Sydney FC.

The return of Stefanutto at left back should help in that regard, with Corey Brown’s brain explosion for the penalty a further sign that the home grown full-back is not yet ready to produce week in, week out.

The home side also enter this encounter on the back of a solid run in recent weeks which has seen them score ten goals and concede just four in the past month as they picked up maximum points.

Marquee player and top scorer Diego Castro looms as the big danger for Brisbane, with the Spaniard getting better and better as the season goes along. January additions Andy Keogh, Kristian Vadocz and Shane Lowry have also added strength, experience and quality to a side lacking in all three over the first half of the season.

The two previous encounters this season have been reasonably close affairs with Brisbane picking up narrow wins in matches played here in Brisbane, with Henrique coming off the bench and scoring in both games.

The big story of the week is likely to be the first return to Perth of Jamie Maclaren, who left the Glory in the off-season as the fallout over their breaching of the salary cap played out.

Maclaren has been fantastic for Brisbane this season with 14 goals in 11 games, however there have been doubts over his fitness this week after he left the training ground on Monday with a slight hamstring strain.

Despite that he’s set to make the trip to Perth and should play a part in the encounter, and he’s player that Perth will know well, but will also be desperate to keep quiet on Saturday night.

Brisbane Roar squad 1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Henrique, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 15) James Donachie, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 20) Shannon Brady, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.

Perth Glory squad 1) Ante Covic, 2) Alex Grant, 3) Marc Warren, 4) Shane Lowry, 6) Dino Djulbic, 7) Gyorgy Sandor, 9) Andy Keogh, 10) Nebojsa Marinkovic, 11) Richard Garcia, 12) Jerrad Tyson, 13) Diogo Ferreira, 14) Chris Harold, 17) Diego Castro, 18) Mitch Oxborrow, 19) Josh Risdon, 21) Kosta Petratos, 23) Kristian Vadocz, 29) Aryn Williams.
*two to be omitted.

Expected line-ups
Brisbane starting XI– Theo, Hingert, North, Donachie, Stefanutto, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes– Young, Bowles, Lustica, Hervas, Henrique.
Omitted– Brown, Brady.

There is likely to be just the one change to the Brisbane side which came from behind to rescue a point at home to Newcastle last week, with veteran Shane Stefanutto likely to return at left back after a three week absence in the place of Corey Brown.

There have been question marks over the fitness of Stefanutto in recent weeks after he was left out for a further two games after his mandatory one game ban for yellow cards, however it seems John Aloisi has decided to risk his preferred and more stable option at left back if those injury clouds remain.

As mentioned above, should Maclaren’s hamstring tightness keep him sidelined, Henrique is the obvious candidate to replace him in the starting side, with youngster Shannon Brady coming onto the bench.

Perth Starting XI– Covic, Risdon, Djulbic, Lowry, Warren, Sandor, Vadocz, Marinkovic, Castro, Harold, Keogh.
Substitutes– Tyson, Grant, Ferreira, Petratos, Garcia.
Omitted– Williams, Oxborrow.

Perth are also a settled side at the moment and that should only improve with the return to fitness of experienced defender Dino Djulbic. It’s likely the return of Djulbic will shuffle youngster Alex Grant onto the substitute’s bench, with Aryn Williams the man most likely to make way from the matchday squad.

Outside of that it’s unlikely that Kenny Lowe will tinker much from a side which has catapulted into finals contention in recent weeks.

Recent form
Brisbane– DWWLL
Perth– WWWWD

Top Scorer
Brisbane– Jamie Maclaren (11)
Perth– Diego Castro (9)

All-Time Record against Perth Glory

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