Match preview: Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix

Two teams that have been used to battling it out for the wooden spoon in recent seasons find themselves rather separated on the Hyundai A-League ladder as the countdown to finals begins.

Central Coast Mariners have suffered an awful campaign to date, sitting dead last on the Hyundai A-League ladder with only one win to their name.

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That stands in stark contrast to Wellington Phoenix who have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance under new manager Mark Rudan to sit in sixth and in-line for a first finals campaign since the 2014/15 Season.

It’s not all plain sailing for the Nix however as they nervously look over their shoulder at the Newcastle Jets, who are picking up points regularly after a flat start to the season.

The seventh-placed Jets have closed to within two points of Wellington in the top six after their shock 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory last weekend.

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The Phoenix suffered a close 1-0 loss at the hands of Sydney FC in their last outing and will be desperate to get defensive rock Steven Taylor back after he missed their 'home' match at Campbelltown Stadium.

Phoenix have registered four draws in their last six away games in the Hyundai A-League, losing only to Perth Glory at HBF Park in that time.

The Mariners meanwhile certainly played their part in the game of the Hyundai A-League season in Round 20 as they went down to Brisbane Roar in a 5-3 thriller.

And they are undefeated in their last four Hyundai A-League games against Wellington in Gosford, keeping a clean sheet in their last two such fixtures.

The only way is up for Mike Mulvey’s men and they will back themselves against a Nix side that will be playing away from Wellington for the fifth straight match.

Key Opta Stats

  • Wellington Phoenix have won five of their last eight Hyundai A-League games against Central Coast Mariners (D1, L2), including their last two on the bounce.
  • The Mariners have led at half-time in six of their last 10 Hyundai A-League games; however, they’ve gone on to win just one of their last nine games in the league when they’ve held the advantage at the break.
  • Mike Mulvey’s Mariners have conceded 48 goals this season - the most of any team - and will be looking to avoid conceding 50 goals in a Hyundai A-League regular season for the fourth time; no other team has done so on more than three occasions.

Ins and Outs

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Connor PAIN, 17.Peter KEKERIS, 18.Matt MILLAR, 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 24.Joe GAUCI (gk), 25.Jordan MURRAY, 26.Josh NISBET, 27.Charles M’MOMBWA, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 33.Lewis MILLER, 34.Michael GLASSOCK, 68.Jem KARACAN  **two to be omitted**

Ins: 23.Mario SHABOW (return from injury), 24.Joe GAUCI (gk) (promoted), 26.Josh NISBET (promoted), 27.Charles M’MOMBWA (promoted), 33.Lewis MILLER (promoted), 34.Michael GLASSOCK (promoted)
Outs: 7.Andrew HOOLE (omitted), 13.Aiden O’NEILL (suspended – 1 week), 15.Kye ROWLES (foot injury), 19.Matt SIMON (suspended – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: 6.Tom HIARIEJ (groin injury) 10.Tommy OAR (knee inury), 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 12.Antony GOLEC, 13.Liberato CACACE,15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIIOT, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE, 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR, 32.Gianni STENSNESS **two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Antony GOLEC (promoted), 17.Callan ELLIOT (promoted), 32.Gianni STENSNESS (promoted)
Outs: 14.Alex Rufer (suspended (accumulation of yellow cards) – 1 week)
Unavailable: 3.Justin GULLEY (knee injury - 1 week),  6.Dylan FOX (ankle injury - TBC), 19.Tom DOYLE (knee injury - 1 week)

Alex Rufer with Head Coach Mark Rudan After 1-0 Win Over Melbourne City
Alex Rufer will miss this match through suspension.

How to watch

You can catch this Saturday night game on Fox Sports 505 as well as LIVE and FREE on Ten Bold with kick-off at 7:50pm AEDT. You can also stream it live on the MyFootball Live App, while you can also subscribe to Kayo Sports.

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Round 21: Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix

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