Brisbane Roar's five-game unbeaten run will get the sternest of tests on Friday night when they visit ladder leaders Sydney FC in the opening game of A-League Round 17.
Roar have collected 11 points from the last 15 after a run of three wins and two draws including a 1-0 win at Central Coast Mariners in Round 16, but the trip to face the Sky Blues at Jubilee Stadium is a daunting one.
Sydney FC have lost just once all season and now have a 10-point lead at the top of the ladder after bringing up a fourth straight win with a 3-0 demolition of Big Blue rivals Melbourne Victory.
The first of three games on Saturday will see bottom side Newcastle Jets bid to avoid a fifth successive loss when they host Western United at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Jets were beaten 2-1 at Wellington Phoenix last Friday and are four points adrift at the foot of the ladder. Western United, meanwhile, suffered a third defeat in four when losing a high-scoring affair 4-3 at home to Adelaide United.
Fresh off that win, the Reds will host Melbourne City on Saturday night. The victory moved Adelaide back into the top five and they will look to cement their finals spot against second-placed City, who dropped points at home when drawing 0-0 with Perth Glory.
That draw ended a six-game winning run for Glory, but they remain third on the ladder ahead of a Saturday night clash at home to Melbourne Victory, who have a midweek AFC Champions League trip to Kashima Antlers to deal with first.
The final game of the weekend on Sunday sees two sides in desperate need of a change in fortunes meet as ninth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, fresh off the bye, travel to Central Coast to face the out of sorts Mariners.
A-League Round 17 Fixtures
Friday, January 31st
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Saturday, February 1st
Newcastle Jets v Western United
Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, February 2nd
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers