Soccer: Phoenix form no surprise to Melbourne

Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix celebrates his goal during the round three A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar at Westpac Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.
Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix celebrates his goal during the round three A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar at Westpac Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.

Melbourne Victory say they won't be surprised by the A-League's surprise packets.

That's because they rate Wellington Phoenix highly, and are wary of a side defeated just once in four matches this season and peering down at the Victory on the congested ladder.

"They've done well, they always do well," Victory's ex-Phoenix winger Marco Rojas said ahead of their Monday night clash at Etihad Stadium.

"They're a good team. They've been together a long time so they know each other in and out and you can see that on the pitch.

"They work hard for each other."

The Phoenix have only ever beaten the Victory twice in 15 meetings, never beaten them in Melbourne, and the Victory have won the past three times they've played.

But much of that pain was inflicted in previous years when the Phoenix struggled on the road - something a 1-1 draw when understrength against Melbourne Heart in week two suggests could be improving.

The Victory, still adjusting to life under new coach Ange Postecoglou, have lost three of their first four.

Talented New Zealander Rojas admits taking on his former club does carry extra significance.

"I want to perform probably a little bit better against my old teammates, but it is just like another normal game where we are aiming for the three points," he said.

"So I will prepare for it like any other game and hopefully we get a few people there and we get a bit of an atmosphere going."

The Phoenix will be without reliable defender Ben Sigmund after he was sent off against Adelaide United for the controversial Jeronimo Neumann diving incident last weekend.

They have a ready-made replacement in All Whites centre-back Michael Boxall, who starred against the Heart in his last visit to Melbourne.

Victory's Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler is rated a good chance to play after missing last weekend's match with a groin strain.

-AAP

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