Melbourne City can move a step closer to a top-two finish if they beat premiers Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
City are in the driving seat in the race for second spot - having moved ahead of Wellington who slipped to third on Friday night by virtue of goals scored following their 1-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Melbourne club - who have three regular-season matches still to play - are level on points and goal difference with Wellington but have found the net five times more during the season.
They have a game in hand over Phoenix and fourth-placed Brisbane Roar, who are two points further back on 38.
Sydney beat City 2-1 last time the teams met, in December, but City coach Erick Mombaerts remains confident his side can take it to the premiers.
"Honestly, our first game against Sydney was good enough - we just made some mistakes and we had also a lot of chances," Mombaerts told reporters on Friday.
"Their strength is they have a good collective style because this team was built for a few years - so they know each other's styles, they know each other's strengths.
"It's a team that wants to control the pace of the game and control the game with a good technical level. If we let them play at their pace, they are maybe better.
"So we need to find some solutions to change something and after Newcastle showed a good example (when they beat Sydney FC ten days ago) - they played an intense game, they pressed them a lot. Maybe it's also a way we can use."
City's Austrian import Richard Windbichler has fully recovered from a serious hamstring injury and will line up alongside Curtis Good in the centre of defence.
Good has overcome a muscle injury to prove his fitness for City's return to action and Mombaerts is optimistic he can feature for the full 90 minutes.
The Melbourne side will be without Markel Susaeta, who has returned to Spain, while utility Rostyn Griffiths is still in quarantine after travelling to NSW last week.
Goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis has departed the club to take up an opportunity overseas, with youngster Joe Gauci to serve as Tom Glover's back-up.
Sydney will be without Rhyan Grant (groin).
STATS THAT MATTER
* Sydney FC have won eight of their past nine A-League matches against City, losing one. They have scored an average of 2.6 goals across those eight victories
* City's Jamie Maclaren and Sydney's Adam Le Fondre currently share the lead in the A-League golden boot with 18 goals apiece
* City's Craig Noone has created 47 scoring chances in open play this season, the joint-most alongside Perth's Diego Castro.