Wellington Phoenix eye A-League upset over depleted Sydney FC
Wellington Phoenix aim to capitalise on Sydney FC's controversial midfield absences as they attempt to pull off the upset of the A-League season in Saturday's home clash.
Phoenix co-coach Chris Greenacre has no real issue with Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold's ploy in asking Josh Brillante and Brandon O'Neill to pick up yellow cards last weekend.
But he says it's something he wouldn't do and now he hopes to take advantage as the desperate Phoenix try to inflict only the second defeat on Sydney FC in 26 matches this season.
Brillante and O'Neill will both miss the runaway league leaders' clash with the Phoenix due to accumulation of yellow cards, removing the threat of that occurring a fortnight later in the finals series.
"They're without two of their most consistent players in O'Neill and Brillante, who have been terrific for them this season," said Greenacre.
"I know it's probably for the greater good of having two players not suspended for finals, but I think you always want your best players on the pitch at all times."
Sydney have already wrapped up the A-League premiership, sitting 17 points clear of second-placed Melbourne Victory with only two regular season games remaining.
In contrast, Wellington must beat the Sky Blues at Westpac Stadium -- and Brisbane Roar the following week -- to have any chance of making the playoffs.
The Phoenix are coming off two big wins -- 5-0 over Newcastle Jets and 3-0 over the Victory -- but are still four points astray of sixth-placed Perth Glory.
Greenacre was philosophical about Arnold's yellow card ploy.
"I've witnessed it for a number of years now, and it's just part and parcel of the game," he said on Wednesday.
"It is what it is, and the people in charge will see fit what needs to happen."
Arnold won't face any sanction for his actions, as FFA has deemed the matter falls short of calling the game into disrepute, but a review could end the controversial practice.
A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said it was disappointing to have coaches "overtly calling" for their players to commit fouls.
He has spoken with the head of FFA's integrity unit with a view to banning the practice.