Preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

This season, Victory and Sydney have already shared a remarkable 3-3 draw, while Melbourne won the next match 3-0 in October.

Date: Saturday January 15 Kick-off: 7:30pm Venue: Sydney Football Stadium Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports 2 from 7:30pm (AEDT) Live Match Centre: www.melbournevictory.com.au

Head-to-head Played: 20. Wins: Melbourne Victory 7, Sydney 4, Draws: 9

Previous Meeting Melbourne Victory 3, Sydney FC 0, Etihad Stadium, October 2010

Why we don't like 'em Take your pick. Is it the fact we thrashed them 5-0 in season one, the controversial match early in 2006 where Melbourne won 3-2 after Mark Rudan was sent off, while Fred was later banned for a sly elbow on Mark Milligan or later that season when a record 50,333 turned out to watch the teams play? Then there's the match in December 2008 where Melbourne came back from 2-0 down inside three minutes win 3-2.

Of course there's always last season's events, where Melbourne lost the Premier's Plate on the final day of the season, knocked off Sydney over two legs in the semi-final and then lost the final on penalties. This season, they have already shared a remarkable 3-3 draw, while Melbourne won the next match 3-0 in October.

Past five matches: Sydney FC: Sydney FC 2, Gold Coast United 0, SFS Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0, Adelaide Oval Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Heart 1, SFS North Queensland Fury 1, Sydney FC 0. Dairy Farmers Stadium

Melbourne Victory: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 4, AAMI Park Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 0, Westpac Stadium Central Coast Mariners 1, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Stadium Melbourne Victory 2, Newcastle Jets 1, AAMI Park Melbourne Victory 2, Perth Glory 0, AAMI Park

Decisions for Ernie The major call is the set-up of the side after the week-s suspension handed to skipper Kevin Muscat and an injury to Adrian Leijer. That open the door for Franjic to make his A-League debut. Matthew Kemp is expected to be at least another week away, meaning Leigh Broxham or Diogo Ferreira may be called upon at right back. One potential wildcard for the position is Matthew Foschini. The son of former VFL player Silvio has been outstanding in the National Youth League and looks a real star of the future. Tom Pondeljak is back in the 15 and may be an option Ernie turns to in attack. Ricardinho and Danny Allsopp will both be better for the 90 minutes against Adelaide. Even though Mate Dugandzic scored Victory-s consolation goal, look for both to keep their spots in a front three alongside Carlos Hernandez, who has a roaming role.

Behind Enemy Lines After a season primarily of struggle, brighter fortunes appear to have arrived for Sydney FC. Just as the wooden-spoon was looming large, the Sky Blues found some form with back-to-back wins over Newcastle Jets and Gold Coast United. Not only that, but the Sydney FC looked as good against Gold Coast as they have all season with marquee man Nicky Carle in superb touch. The recent signing of Finnish international striker Juho Makela has added a different edge to the Sydney attack which had previously relied on the goals of Brazilian Bruno Cazarine.

Our Hero Grant Brebner - The industrious Scotsman has illustrated why he is one of Victory-s most important players by being a virtual one-man band in midfield during the losses to Adelaide and Wellington. His experience and ball playing ability means he-s a critical cog in the gameplan of coach Ernie Merrick. Not only that, his leadership as captain in the absence of Kevin Muscat and Adrian Leijer will be important in what is a massive game for the club.

Danger Man Juho Makela - One A-League goal and Makela is now our danger man. Known as “The Surgeon-, Makela produced a major incision on Gold Coast with a well-taken finish in just his second appearance for Sydney. Has international pedigree, having played seven matches for his home nation Finland, and more importantly has a desire to succeed in Australia. A bustling striker, Makela has a great eye for goal and his partnership with Brazilian Bruno Cazarine will only get better with each passing game.

Why we will win Because we need to. Those losses to Wellington and Adelaide in the space of four days mean Victory has to come away from this visit to Sydney with at least one point, but preferably three. Victory is one of four teams in a battle for the last two available finals spots and do have the current advantage of being the highest-placed with 32 points from 24 matches. For the record, Newcastle (31 from 23), Melbourne Heart (30 from 24) and Wellington (29 from 24) are the other teams alive in the finals hunt.

Victory boasts a strong overall record against Sydney, losing just four of their 20 overall clashes since the inception of the A-League. This season saw a thrilling 3-3 draw in the opening round before Victory belted Sydney 3-0 at Etihad Stadium in October. But the man who scored two goals in that game - Robbie Kruse - is still in Qatar.

Even so, Victory should have enough attacking weapons to come away with a win by at least an odd goal.

Teams Sydney FC: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nick CARLE, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 17. Matt JURMAN, 18. Juho MAKELA, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23, Rhyan GRANT, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS *three to be omitted* In: Brendan GAN, Kofi DANNING, Rhyan GRANT (all promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Hayden FOXE (groin - 2 weeks), Mark BRIDGE (stomach - 1 week), Alex BROSQUE (groin - 1 week), Terry ANTONIS (knee - 3 weeks)

Melbourne Victory: 1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8. Grant BREBNER, 9. RICARDINHO, 11. Marvin ANGULO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17. Matthew FOSCHINI, 18. Danny ALLSOPP, 19. Evan BERGER, 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 22. Geoff KELLAWAY, 23. Adrian LEIJER (c) *four to be omitted* In: Petar FRANJIC (promoted), Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), Geoff KELLAWAY (promoted). Out: Kevin MUSCAT (suspended - 1 match) Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (hamstring - 2 weeks), Surat SUKHA (calf - 2 weeks) Robbie KRUSE (international duty - 3 weeks)