Hyundai A-League preview: Reds v Mariners

Reigning champions Adelaide United will look to spark their Hyundai A-League title defence when they host improving Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 4:30PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official: Rick Schneider

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Coast FM 96.3

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvCCM

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Victory's Oliver Bozanic and Adelaide's James Holland in action at Coopers Stadium.

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergi GUARDIOLA, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 13.Marc MARINO, 14.George MELLS, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO, 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 25.James HOLLAND

**one to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 25.James HOLLAND (returns from injury)

Outs: 5.Taylor REGAN (omitted), 45.Danny CHOI (foot – to be assessed)

Unavailable: 2.Michael MARRONE (Achilles – 8 weeks), 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (foot – 1 week), 7.HENRIQUE (knee – 5 weeks), 11.Sergio CIRIO (knee – 7 weeks), 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC (quad – 2 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O”DONOVAN, 10.Mickael TAVARES, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 30.Adam PEARCE (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 13.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 23.Jake Adelson (ACL – indefinite), 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (quad strain – 1 week)

Nick Montgomery

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Adelaide are confident they are on the verge of ending their win-less run to start 2016-17 and many will expect the Reds to do just that against the Mariners at Coopers Stadium.

Having won the Hyundai A-League double last season, Adelaide have struggled to get going this term as they suffered early elimination in the Westfield FFA Cup and have failed to win in the first four rounds in the league.

Luck hasn't been on Adelaide's side in their past three games, which have all ended in 2-1 defeats, including against Melbourne City last week.

City may have dominated but Guillermo Amor's team hit the woodwork twice.

New striker Sergi Guardiola opened his A-League account against City with a well-taken header and the Spaniard's aerial prowess could be critical to Adelaide getting on the winners' list.

Adelaide United striker Sergi Guardiola opened his Hyundai A-League goal account in Round 4.

The Reds remain cursed by injuries with Danny Choi (foot) the latest to be sidelined but in some good news James Holland has been recalled after being a late withdrawal from the City clash.

Central Coast also haven't won yet this season but enter this clash on the back of a promising 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 4.

The Mariners welcome back captain Nick Montgomery, who has recovered from a groin complaint, and should take confidence from the improved defensive performances. 

Central Coast have only conceded two goals in their past two games after letting in seven in the previous fortnight.

#ADLvCCM - The last time the Mariners won on the road against Adelaide was in March 2013; they’ve since conceded 15 goals in five consecutive away defeats.

But a concern for Mariners coach Paul Okon will be that his team have lost on their past five visits to Adelaide, conceding an average of three goals per game.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League stats: Who bosses the Big Blue?

ROUTE TO GOAL

Central Coast have had more possession than any other side this season (58%) but need to start using the ball better as they have attempted the fewest shots (36) in the A-League.

It remains unclear whether Blake Powell is the best option for the Mariners as a central play maker, with the former Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC forward having created just five chances this season.

But with Adelaide likely to enjoy long periods of possession at home, Central Coast may thrive playing on the counterattack thanks to the speed of Connor Pain, Fabio Ferreira and Trent Buhagiar. 

Trent Buhagiar (Central Coast Mariners)

The Reds may have lost three straight matches but are much better than that form suggests with the woodwork having denied them four times in their past two games - potential goals that could have seen Adelaide triumph.

With Guardiola off the mark, Amor's side could be set for a high-scoring 90 minutes.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Storm Roux. Okon handed the captain's armband to the Kiwi full-back last week in the absence of Montgomery. Roux has been working his way back from injury this season and described captaining the Mariners as a "massive honour". He was also named in this week's Team of the Week for Round 4. 

Hyundai A-League Team of the Week: RD 4

FORM LINES

Adelaide United: DLLL

Central Coast Mariners: DLLD

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 2-0 Central Coast Mariners