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Feb 15, 2013

Roar coach needs A-League win over Phoenix

Just two days after his surprise two-year reappointment, Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey will be under pressure to deliver a winning performance on Sunday against lowly A-League rivals Wellington.

In one of the more bizarre decisions in the Roar's litany of surprises since losing two-time championship-winning mentor Ange Postecoglou, the club shocked and in some cases angered fans with their out-of-the-blue announcement on Friday of Mulvey's new deal.

The coach's record of three wins from 10 games in charge of the competition's most-talented side would have suggested he was walking a tightrope.

To re-appoint Mulvey seven games out from the finals, which the club might yet embarrassingly miss, when the club could have used the games to weigh up their options is puzzling despite general manager Sean Dobson's insistence that stability "was crucial".

Backing up for their third game in a week, a fatigued Brisbane will be vulnerable against a struggling Wellington, having just returned from their Asian Champions League qualifying failure where they lost 3-0 on penalties to Thailand's Buriram United on Wednesday night.

Mulvey won't have the services of skipper Matt Smith and defender Ivan Franjic (head knock) although quicksilver striker Henrique (hip) and central midfielder Massimo Murdocca (ankle) are both a possibility of playing.

Franjic, who was knocked out cold, failed to finish the game in Thailand and will be rested.

Jack Hingert will start in Franjic's key role.

Nine-placed Wellington (20 points), who are four points off the top six, can kickstart their charge for the finals by beating eighth-placed Brisbane (21 points) whose season could quite easily fall apart with a loss in front of their home fans who are running short of patience.

Brisbane, who have only lost twice in their 17 A-League clashes with Wellington, had a light training session on Saturday afternoon while Wellington, who have been preparing in Brisbane since Friday, had a sharp session at Goodwin Park.

Young striker Corey Gameiro, signed by Fulham as a 17-year-old, will debut for Wellington.

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