Mike Mulvey will be hoping to avoid an unwanted record when he takes his Central Coast Mariners to Wellington to play the resurgent Phoenix on Saturday.
Another defeat for the winless Mariners at Westpac Stadium would see the club slump to the worst-ever start to a Hyundai A-League season by any club after eight rounds.
While those associated with the Gosford club will – perhaps rightly – say their performances this season have deserved more than just two draws, the facts are the Mariners have lost five in a row and are four points adrift at the bottom.
And with key recruits absent - Ross McCormack has returned to Aston Villa and Tommy Oar is set to miss out again due to injury - it’s up to the rest of the travelling party to turn their season around…and quickly.
Interestingly, while the Mariners remain the only team yet to keep a clean sheet in the Hyundai A-League this season, their last two clean sheets have come against the Phoenix.
It’s probably not a good time for the Mariners to be facing Wellington, who are riding high on the back of their shock win away at Sydney FC last weekend.
Mark Rudan’s men, who almost beat undefeated Perth Glory the week before, seem to have found a formula that is working and they will see this match as a big opportunity to jump into the top six.
In Roy Krishna (four goals in seven games) they have a serious goal threat with finishing and pace in behind, while the partnership of Steven Taylor and Andrew Durante at the back is getting stronger every week.
Key Opta Stats
- Central Coast Mariners have won two of their last four games against Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand (L2), scoring three goals or more in both of those victories.
- Wellington are winless in their last three games at home (D1, L2) – the last time they went longer without a win at home was a four-game stretch between January to March in 2017 (D1, L3).
- Defeat for the Mariners in this fixture would mark their 14th consecutive game without a win, equalling their longest drought in Hyundai A-League history (D3, L11 - February to October 2016).
Ins and Outs
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO, 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Mitch NICHOLS, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR,
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Filip Kurto (Return from injury) 5.Ryan LOWRY (Return from suspension) 8.Mitch NICHOLS (promoted)
Outs: 40.Ante Covic (gk) (injury replacement period ended)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 16.Josh MACDONALD, 17.Peter KEKERIS, 18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 20.Kalifa CISSE, 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 24.Joe GAUCI, 25.Jordan MURRAY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Josh MACDONALD (promoted), 17.Peter KEKERIS, 24.Joe GAUCI (promoted), 25.Jordan MURRAY (return from injury)
Outs: 1.Ben KENNEDY (leg injury) & 6.Tom HIARIEJ (calf injury)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee), 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf), 44.Ross McCORMACK (knee)
How to watch
Don't miss a minute of the action on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.35pm AEDT.
Be there as the Phoenix chase back-to-back wins against the struggling Mariners. Get your tickets here.