Football: Roar happy to be home

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Updated: January 23, 2014

A-League R16: Brisbane Roar (10-1-4, 31 points) v Wellington Phoenix (4-5-6, 17 points), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Friday, January 24, 7pm

Soon-to-be-former Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha

Soon-to-be-former Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha

This is a tricky start to round 16 of the Hyundai A-League as the Wellington Phoenix look to stretch their unbeaten run to six when they face ladder leaders Brisbane on their home paddock. The Roar haven’t been a dominant force in recent weeks, losing at home to Adelaide 2-1 before being held to a 0-0 draw in Perth. Besart Berisha was sent off in the game against the Glory, and will be suspended for the game against Phoenix. It was announced during the week that the Albanian striker is heading for the Melbourne Victory, and I expect Mike Mulvey’s team to show they’ll remain competitive even without their firebrand striker.

Along with Adelaide, Wellington is one of the A-League’s form outfits with four wins and a draw in their past five starts. Ernie Merrick has the NZ club ticking along nicely, be don’t read too much into the Phoenix’s 5-0 win over his former club Melbourne Victory, who were sorely fatigued. Kenny Cunningham and Carlos Hernandez will miss here due to international commitments and Michael Ridenton is out injured but a raft of youngsters including Reece Caira return from international U22 duty. Wellington has never won in Brisbane, who still boast the tightest defence in the competition and have James Donachie, Corey Brown and Diogo Ferreira available.

Confirmed bet

Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix BTS (one unit @ $1.85) – The $1.55 on offer for a Brisbane victory is a fair price but I like the better value on both teams to score. The Road should contribute at least two while the previously anaemic Phoenix have scored at least once in each of their past five outings.

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