With arguably the match of the Round taking place on Sunday afternoon at Manly?s Cromer Park ? the top-two on the League ladder will battle it out ? the Round will kick-off on Saturday evening at Sydney United Sports Centre as the Reds take-on the highly-motivated Bankstown City, a side that has finally found some consistency in a ?rocky? campaign to-date.
Ivan Petkovic?s Sydney United will need three-points to maintain the fast pace set by both Sutherland Sharks and Manly United, with Sydney Olympic last weekend snatching the Reds? hold of third-spot on the League ladder.
Luka Glavas and Ben Vidaic carry the weight of expectation for Sydney United in the attacking third, though once again, hopes will be pinned upon another fine display from the two midfield wide-men Christopher Boyle and Petar Markovic.
Bankstown City?s second consecutive win against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers in Round 13 boosts the confidence of a side that has played great football this season, though constantly under-achieved in terms of results.
Peter Tsekenis will be eager for more of the same from hard-working midfielder Andre Gumprecht, with Robert Mileski and James Monie constantly improving week-in week-out.
Sunday afternoon?s show-case pits ?first vs second? as Sutherland Sharks visit Manly United in what is looking to be more-and-more-likely an early Grand-Final match-up.
Both sides enter the match in great touch, following impressive 7-0 (Sutherland) and 4-0 (Manly) wins against Penrith-Nepean United and Blacktown City Demons respectively, last weekend.
The home-side have their main marksman flying high after an impressive hat-trick last weekend ? Robbie Cattanach – meanwhile his counterpart Brad Boardman went one better last weekend, scoring four goals in his side?s win.
With the Sharks carrying a slender one-point lead, the encounter promises to be an exhilarating match-up as a win for either side would certainly provide a ?shot in the arm? for their title aspirations.
Third-placed Sydney Olympic face fierce rival Marconi Stallions at Belmore Sports Ground, with the Blues eager to close the gap on the top-two.
Milan Blagojevic?s side has battled away after an indifferent start to the campaign, and now finds itself within striking distance of keeping up with the pre-season expectation bestowed upon the side from the experts.
Marconi Stallions on the other-hand find themselves in a totally different situation, though David Barrett?s men have proved in recent weeks that they too can cause trouble for their opponents in the competition.
Striker?s Tolgay Ozbey and Tallan Martin have shown big improvement in-terms of confidence up-front, meanwhile the experience of both Nahuel Arrarte and Vuko Tomasevic has been vital recently ? not more so than in the win away against Bankstown City and a last-ditch draw against Sydney United.
With time ticking away on a last gasp effort for a push up the Ladder, the Stallions will require a good run of results to pressure for a top-five finish ? and where better to start than away against their former NSL rival, Sydney Olympic.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers and Wollongong FC both require maximum-points from their encounter at Lambert Park following the two side?s win-less Round 13.
The Tigers were given a tough ride by Bankstown, meanwhile Wollongong FC fell at the death of their encounter against Sydney Olympic ? conceding an injury-time penalty.
John Romeo?s Tigers have failed to score consecutive wins this season, and the task against the Wolves will be the more difficult without the services of suspended midfielder Ian King.
Injury concerns also surround the Tigers team with Robert Younis and Michael Galluzzo not in the best shape following a busy week.
Wollongong FC have also been hit by injury, and their coach John Turner will be hoping to welcome back injured duo Ilija Prenzoski and Ballamadou Conde.
Both men missed the loss against Sydney Olympic, as did experienced defender Danial Cummins through suspension.
A ?three-pointer? for the visitors will almost certainly rule out A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s chances of catching the top-five, meanwhile a Tigers win would keep alive the chances of the 2007 Johnny Warren Cup winner.
Macarthur Rams are still looking for their first ?home win? of the campaign ? not to mention their first goal at the Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Paul Carter?s men have collected two-wins this season, their most recent a brave effort in Round 13 against West Sydney Berries ? a match dominated largely by the Berries.
Opposing the Rams will be the bottom-placed Blacktown City Demons. The Demons have endured a horrible run of injuries, impeding the side?s movement up the ladder.
Despite the disappointing display against Manly United last weekend, the Demons did show they can still mix-it with the ?big boys? in Round 12 following a gallant display in the narrow loss to Sydney United.
The final match of the Round pits West Sydney Berries against Penrith-Nepean United in a must-win encounter for both sides.
The Berries are arguably the in-form side going into the encounter, despite the heart-breaking defeat against Macarthur Rams last weekend.
Scott Baillie coached and played his last match against the Rams last weekend as Ramson Shamon stepped in as the new man in charge.
The West Sydney Berries players have provided supporters of the TeleChoice Premier League with some wonderful displays of free-flowing football, though results ? most recently ? have not been so forthcoming.
Penrith-Nepean?s positive start to the campaign has taken a backward step ? so much so that the side from out West has conceded twenty goals in their last five outings, including two 7-0 defeats against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers and Sutherland Sharks.
In a moment where belief and passion are lacking amongst the Penrith players, their coach Abbas Saad will need to rally his troops before their impressive efforts of the first-half of the season are totally forgotten.
-By Joseph Carlucci