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Phoenix wary of Sydney FC rising

Published: 7:04AM Friday March 30, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

The Wellington Phoenix will be hoping to continue their recent dominance over Sydney FC when they kick off the A-League finals series at Westpac Stadium tonight.

The home side have three wins from three meetings with the Sydney-siders this season, their most successful against any team in the league.

Follow live updates of the match from 8pm at tvnz.co.nz

Phoenix captain Andrew Durante admitted that their success over the Sky Blues would put them in good stead heading into tonight's do-or-die fixture, but were still weary of the side who have flown under the radar to reach the playoffs.

"They've been a team that we've got good results against this years and it's always good, it gives you that little bit more confidence knowing that we can beat them and that we've beat them in different ways," Durante told reporters after the captain's run yesterday.

"They pretty much put us under the pump last time we played them at the Sydney Football Stadium, but we defended well and the two other games we really took it to them and put them on the backfoot."

Despite carrying the underdog tag into tonight's match, it's Sydney who look to be the more finely-tuned of the two sides heading into the business-end of the season.

Sydney have been forced to fight for their spot in the playoffs and are unbeaten since their loss to the Phoenix over a month ago. Meanwhile the Wellingtonians have let the foot off the pedal in recent weeks, dropping their last two games, including a 3-0 hiding at the hands of the ailing Melbourne Victory.

But Durante was backing his side to kick into playoff mode come 8pm tonight.

"They obviously played their last few games as if they were grand finals to make the playoffs and credit to them, they got the results, but we hold no fears against them.

"We just need to concentrate on ourselves and make sure our passing's good and make sure that we're doing the right things, finishing has been a talking point over the last couple of weeks so if we get all that right on the night, then I can't see us losing this game."

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has the luxury of a squad that is virtually fully fit and said he won't be making too many changes to the starting eleven from Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Central Coast Mariners.

A win tonight will set up a match next week against either the Perth Glory or the Melbourne Heart in the minor semi-final next weekend.

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