With their form poles apart, Paul Okon’s Central Coast have a huge task containing the improving Perth Glory. And if history is any gauge, expect goals in Gosford on Saturday.
Saturday, 28 January 2017
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 26.STEVE WHYTE
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (return from injury), 17.Josh BINGHAM (promoted), 26.Steve WHYTE (promoted)
Outs: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 1 week)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle injury – 1 week), 19.Jacques FATY (hamstring – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Perth Glory Squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nicholas FEELY, 14.Chris HAROLD, (gk), 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23, Kosta PETRATOS, 24.Milan SMILJANIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14. Chris HAROLD (promoted), 20.Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot - 3 weeks) 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended - 1 week) 18. Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 3 weeks)
If ever a season needed a kick-start, it’s right here, right now for the Mariners.
It’s been eight games without a win for the Gosford club, their last victory ironically against the Glory way back on November 24.
If they are any hope of finals football, they desperately need three points here, especially in front of their home fans.
And history is on their side, with the Mariners losing just one of 18 home games against Glory, winning 14 of those.
But they have been dealt a blow for this one with leading scorer Roy O’Donovan (eight goals) missing to suspension. Their next best scorer is Trent Buhagiar with just two.
While Central Coast hasn’t lost in two clashes with Glory this season, Kenny Lowe’s troops are a much tougher proposition at the moment.
Perth is unbeaten in their last five matches to sit in fifth spot moving into the last 11 rounds – and heading in the right direction with their customary late season surge.
Some of their football over the last month has been scintillating, with their big guns stepping up.
There’s a real sense of optimism building in the West that they can do some damage come the Finals Series. But if they are serious title contenders, this is a clash they can’t afford a slip-up.
ROUTE TO GOAL
If the last two seasons is anything to go by, there should be plenty of goals in Gosford on Saturday afternoon.
In the last five clashes between these two in the Hyundai A-League there’s been an incredible 20 goals, at an average of four per match.
And the first clash this season ended in a remarkable 3-3 draw.
O’Donovan’s absence certainly robs the Mariners of their main goal-scoring threat.
While the likes of Buhagiar, Pain, Ferreira and Powell have looked dangerous at times this season, it hasn’t translated to goals.
It will be interesting to see who Okon goes with as his striker against Glory. Powell has played there in the past, while youngster Josh Bingham is another option.
While the Mariners have relied on one man for their goals, Glory has threats right across their front line.
Andy Keogh (eight), Adam Taggart (seven), Diego Castro (four) and Nebo Marinkovic (four) have all been excellent in front of goal and instrumental in Glory’s current unbeaten run - especially Taggart, who has five in his last six outings, including the winner against Melbourne Victory last weekend.
Though Glory anchor and skipper Rostyn Griffiths will be missing through suspension.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Paul Izzo. The young gloveman is in excellent touch, making the most saves of any keeper in the competition this season (62) and even earning a spot in our Team of the Week last round. Can he keep it up against Glory’s firing attack?