PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND 18 MATCHES (all times AEDT):
FRIDAY, Feb 7
Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, 7.30pm
Head to head: City 9, Victory 13, drawn 8
Last clash: Round 11, 2019-20, Victory 2-1 at AAMI Park
City were left reeling by a 3-1 loss to Adelaide, with Harrison Delbridge (suspended) and Jack Hendry (knee) casualties of that setback. Victory will take heart from a difficult 2-2 draw with Perth, with Andrew Nabbout finding sparkling form that could be the difference in a derby. Carlos Salvachua's team are looking good but need to start picking up points.
Key: Victory put the clamps on Jamie Maclaren in their last derby win and City need their goalscorer in the thick of things if they're to reverse that result.
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix at HBF Stadium, 9.45pm
Head to head: Glory 17, Phoenix 13, drawn 8
Last clash: Round 3, 2019-20, Glory 2-1 at Sky Stadium
Perth are without Socceroos winger Chris Ikonomidis (knee) for the rest of the season but will be out to return to winning ways after back-to-back draws against City and Victory. The Phoenix are coming off the bye and could overtake the Glory - and potentially even City, pending other results - with a win.
Key: Ulises Davila has consistently been at the heart of everything good for Wellington and if he can perform off the back of a long flight to WA, it will give the Phoenix the chance to take it up to Perth.
SATURDAY, Feb 8
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers at Jubilee Stadium, 5pm
Head to head: Sydney FC 11, Wanderers 5, drawn 6
Last clash: Round 3, 2019-20, Wanderers 1-0 at Bankwest Stadium
Since these teams last clashed, Western Sydney sacked their coach, while the Sky Blues have gone on a barnstorming run towards the Premiers Plate. The Wanderers celebrated Jean-Paul Marigny's first game at the helm with a 3-1 win over Central Coast and will hope to carry that form into their grudge match.
Key: New signing Simon Cox scored on his Wanderers debut, along with earning a penalty. If the underdogs are to achieve an upset, they'll need a spark - and the Irishman could provide just that.
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium, 7.30pm
Head to head: Roar 17, Adelaide 20, drawn 9
Last clash: Round 5, 2019-20, Adelaide 1-0 at Coopers Stadium
The resurgent Roar lost to Sydney FC last week but recorded three wins and two draws in the preceding five games. Meanwhile, the Reds have shrugged off a mid-season slump to win three games on the bounce, but have been hit by the loss of Nathan Konstandopoulos (knee). With the top-six wide open, this game is crucial for both sides.
Key: Riley McGree scored the winner last time these two teams faced off and once again shapes as the player who could determine the result this time around.
SUNDAY, Feb 9
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners at McDonald Jones Stadium, 4pm
Head to head: Jets 15, Mariners 13, drawn 16
Last clash: Round 2, 2019-20, 1-1 draw at Central Coast Stadium
The F3 derby is a bottom-of-the-table affair but never fails to deliver in terms of the rivalry on the field. Both the Jets and Mariners have created chances but struggled to convert them - whoever can be more clinical should win the day here.
Key: Roy O'Donovan has loved scoring against former club the Mariners and if he features on Sunday, he'll be out to again make his mark. The Jets haven't struggled to create chances, but putting them away has been a different matter.
(Bye: Western United)