The Mariners will play their first match in front of their home fans this season against in-form Melbourne City on Saturday afternoon.
There was a lot to like about how Central Coast went in grabbing a draw against Brisbane last weekend, defending stoutly and looking dangerous on the break.
And in striker Ross McCormack, they have a player who will be extremely motivated to perform against his former club.
Mike Mulvey’s side will get an excellent test of their finals credentials against a City side riding high on the back of their Melbourne Derby win.
A fast-start is likely to be crucial with the last five matches at Central Coast Stadium all being won by the team leading at half-time.
KEY OPTA STATS
- City are undefeated in their last nine matches against Central Coast, their best current undefeated streak against any team in the Hyundai A-League.
- The Mariners have scored six goals in their last three games against City at home; but have not won any of these games (D2, L1).
- City will be chasing back-to-back away wins for the first time since October 2017, after coming up trumps against Victory last weekend.
WHAT THEY SAID
“We need to perform well and make them want to come and see us and support us. What’s important to me is we’ve got a good group of players, very competitive team in terms of what we are trying to achieve." - Mariners defender Kalifa Cisse
“It will be a strange one running out there. I’ll have a lot of family and friends out there supporting me and I’ll be playing against a few of my close mates as well. – [ex-Mariners] and now City attacker Lachlan Wales
INS AND OUTS
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (Gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 16.Josh MACDONALD, 18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Kalifa CISSE, 22.Jacob MELLING, 25.Jordan MURRAY, 44.Ross McCORMACK
Ins: 16.Josh MACDONALD (promoted), 18.Matt MILLAR (promoted)
Unavailable: 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (ACL), 7.Andrew HOOLE (foot injury), Corey GAMEIRO (hamstring)
Melbourne City FC Squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk), 2.Ritchie De LAET, 3.Scott JAMIESON (C), 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Riley MCGREE, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (Gk), 19.Lachlan WALES, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 25.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 39.Anthony LESIOTIS, 51.Idris ABDULAHI
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Scott JAMIESON (returns from injury), 10.Dario VIDOSIC (returns from illness)
Unavailable: 6.Osama MALIK (calf), 11.Michael O’HALLORAN (hamstring), 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON (international duty), 36.Dylan PIERIAS (international duty), 42.James DELIANOV (international duty), 21.Ramy NAJJARINE (international duty), 38.Joshua CAVALLO (international duty), 30.Moudi NAJJAR (international duty), 34.Connor METCALFE (international duty)
Central Coast Mariners: D
Melbourne City: W
HOW TO WATCH
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 to see the Mariners welcome City to Gosford, with kick off at 5.35pm (AEDT), or stream the match live on the MyFootball Live App.
You can secure your tickets to the opening match of Round 2 here.