A-League Preview: Wanderers, Roar set for top-two battle
Western Sydney can extend their lead atop the A-League when they face Brisbane in a top-of-the-table clash on Friday.
The Wanderers have picked up where they left off in their inaugural campaign, winning four of their six matches to start 2013-14 to be two points clear at the top.
Last season's premiers have again relied on their strong defence, having conceded just three times to stay unbeaten.
Tony Popovic's men look beatable, though, and face a huge test when they travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the second-placed Roar.
Mike Mulvey's men slumped to a surprise 2-1 loss at Newcastle last time out but were undermanned due to injuries and international duty.
Ivan Franjic and Matt McKay appear set to return if fit after featuring in Australia's 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Sydney on Tuesday.
The Roar may also be boosted by the returns of Albanian striker Besart Berisha (hamstring), midfielder Liam Miller (calf) and left-back Shane Stefanutto (hamstring).
Star winger Youssouf Hersi may be back to boost the Wanderers, who have won all four of their meetings against Brisbane.
Elsewhere in round seven, the Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United will be desperate to end their winless runs when their rivalry resumes at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Victory have suffered two straight losses under coach Kevin Muscat, who replaced Australia boss Ange Postecoglou and started his time in charge with a win over Wellington.
Adelaide are winless in five with coach Josep Gombau's possession-based game taking time to be implemented.
Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi will come under increasing pressure if his side lose at Newcastle on Sunday.
Winless and bottom, the Heart desperately need a victory against the in-form Jets – or Aloisi may face the sack.
Their last victory outside of Victoria came in December 2011 and the Jets are third after a five-match unbeaten run.
Wellington return to action at Sydney and the Central Coast Mariners begin life under new coach Phil Moss with a trip to Perth on Saturday.