Hyundai A-League preview: Phoenix v Mariners
Wellington take Hyundai A-League football to New Zealand's garden city, Christchurch. Will the change in scenery lead to a change in fortunes, or will Luis Garcia's Mariners spoil Phoenix's road trip?
Saturday, 30 January 2016
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-Off: 7:15 PM (Local) (5:15 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Rule
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Lount
Fourth Official: Matthew Conger
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 92.5 ABC Central Coast, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Coast FM 96.3 (Central Coast), Radio Sport Extra NZ (online and via I-Heart radio app)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvCCM
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK) (c), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Justin GULLEY, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Troy DANASKOS, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 13.Albert RIERA, 15.James MCGARRY, 16.Louis FENTON, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Logan ROGERSON, 28.Joel STEVENS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Justin GULLEY (promoted), 5.Troy DANASKOS (promoted), 15.James MCGARRY (promoted), 24 Logan ROGERSON (promoted)
Outs: 17.Vince LIA (suspended – 1 week), 22.Andrew DURANTE (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 7.Jeffery SARPONG (calf strain - 1 week), 14.Alex RUFER (broken leg - season), 18.Ben SIGMUND (hip - 2 to 3 weeks), 21.Roy KRISHNA (ankle - 10 to 12 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Paul IZZO (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA (c), 10.Luis GARCIA, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 15.Brad McDONALD, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Francesco STELLA, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 23.Tomislav USKOK, 28.Matthew FLETCHER, 40. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Josh ROSE (promoted), 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (promoted), 23.Tomislav USKOK (promoted), 40. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK) (promoted)
Outs: 5.Harry ASCROFT (suspended – 1 week), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (suspended – 1 week), 13.Alastair BRAY (GK) (injured foot – 1 week)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’Donovan (suspended – 5 weeks)
If ever a season needed a kick-start, it's here - for both sides.
Phoenix are winless in seven matches stretching back to early December and desperately need all three points if they're to have any hope of finals football. The goals have dried up and to make matters worse, three of the club's most experienced players - Ben Sigmund (injury), Andrew Durante and Vince Lia (suspension) - will be missing.
The Mariners, while boosted by the arrival of Luis Garcia, are still seven points adrift at the foot of the ladder and a massive 14 away from the playoff spots. Pride is their prime motivator now and they'll be looking to repeat their New Year's Eve defeat of Wellington in Gosford.
This is the 13th home game the Phoenix have played outside Wellington. They've lost just one of the previous twelve (0-1 v Sydney FC in Palmerston North 2009/10).
Neither team has kept a clean sheet in the last seven matches between these two.
Wellington Phoenix are undefeated (W3, D2) in their last five home matches and have lost just five of their last 20 home Hyundai A-League fixtures (W10, D5).
Central Coast Mariners have conceded 12 goals in the last 15 minutes of Hyundai A-League football this season; five more than any other side.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Phoenix are officially in the midst of a serious goal-drought, having netted just five times in their last seven matches, two of those from the boot of Roy Krishna who is now out for the season through injury.
In his absence, and with import Jeffrey Sarpong completely unable to adapt to life in the A-League, there's simply no obvious source of goals for Wellington.
Roly Bonevacia's wonder strike against Melbourne City was a rare bright spot in an otherwise barren month since Christmas, but goals like that don't come along every day.
More is needed from Michael McGlinchey and Blake Powell in the front third.
The Mariners haven't exactly set the goal-scoring charts alight either, but they have scored in each of their last five games, with Fabio Ferreira on the scoresheet three times.
Pacy Mitch Austin always looks dangerous going forward and Mariners fans will hope the additions of Luis Garcia and Matthew Fletcher add firepower in the absence of suspended striker Roy O'Donovan.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Luis Garcia's impact was immediate with over 13,000 turning out to watch his A-League debut last weekend. The former Liverpool star has quickly embraced life in Australia, hosting coaching clinics and impressing his team-mates.
Wellington Phoenix: LLDLL
Central Coast Mariners: LWDLL
Wellington Phoenix 1 Central Coast Mariners 0