Former Sky Blue and Phoenix star Shane Smeltz has warned Sydney FC against complacency in Saturday’s clash at Jubilee Stadium, offering an insight into the mindset of his former employers leading into the clash.
Current Sydney FC Foxtel Youth League Assistant Coach Smeltz scored 24 goals in 51 appearances for the Phoenix as one of the biggest names in New Zealand football, and his knowledge of the club and their culture is something that not many involved with Sydney FC would have.
Despite the gap in quality between the two sides, Smeltz knows exactly how Wellington will be preparing for this game, and says the Sky Blues can’t overlook their opponents come Saturday.
“From Phoenix’s side in general, it’s normally a game you go into with nothing to lose because you’re playing a better side,” he said.
“I’m sure it’s one they are looking forward to after the last few seasons where Sydney FC have dominated, and it’s going to be a big week for Wellington Phoenix as a club.
“They’re going to know they need to get everything in order and they’re going to have to be at their best to try and pull off the upset at Kogarah.”
The Sky Blues currently sit in third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder behind Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory, while our opponents from across the ditch are placed in ninth spot with only one win in their first six games.
Despite his past ties to the Phoenix however, Smeltz sees this contest only having one outcome.
“It’ll be an interesting encounter for me to watch personally, but it is one I expect Sydney FC to dominate and win,” he said.
“I always keep an eye on ex clubs of mine and Phoenix are one of them, but the Sky Blues are rolling on well at the moment and I expect them to come away with the three points on Saturday night.”
In recent clashes the Sky Blues have had the wood over the Phoenix, scoring three wins over them in the 2017/18 season, including a 4-0 drubbing at Allianz Stadium this past February.
Smeltz has become an integral part of the Sydney FC setup after retiring from professional football and moving into a role as FYL Assistant Coach at the club, and has been impressed with the performances so far this season in the A-League.
“I think Sydney FC is rolling on and still in a very good place,” he said.
“There’s been some good performances early on in the season, and they managed to get the right result against Central Coast thanks to a great strike from Brandon O’Neill.”
Sydney FC take on Wellington Phoenix this Saturday afternoon at Jubilee Stadium (kick off 5:35pm). Secure your seats today and be there to back your Sky Blues in the perfect way to kick off your Saturday night.