Match preview: Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Wellington Phoenix will be heavily expected to extend their unbeaten run to a club-record eight straight matches when they host Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
The Kiwi club highlighted just how far they've come under Mark Rudan with a chest-thumping 3-2 victory away to Western Sydney Wanderers during the week.
Roy Krishna scored twice in the rain-soaked triumph while new signing Cillian Sheridan impressed off the bench as Central Coast's task grew greater.
ANALYSIS: Sheridan shines to spark Phoenix win
The Mariners lost 2-0 at Westpac Stadium in mid-December and have failed to pick up a point in any of their past nine matches.
Progress was evident in the recent trip to Sydney FC with Connor Pain's opening goal and the performance of Matt Millar encouraging takeaways, but an eventual 5-2 defeat sparked by Kalifa Cisse's needless dismissal served only as another confidence blow.
Centre-back Cisse will subsequently sit out through suspension, although key recruit Tommy Oar appears ready to play a larger role following two successive substitute appearances.
Key Opta stats
- Wellington Phoenix are undefeated in their last seven matches (W4, D3) - they have never gone eight games without loss in their Hyundai A-League history.
- The Mariners have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 17 games; the last time any team in the Hyundai A-League went longer without a clean sheet was also the Mariners, who went a competition-record 36 games without keeping a clean sheet from April 2015 to November 2016.
- Central Coast have scored just four goals in the second stanza of games this season, fewer than any other team in the competition.
Ins and Outs
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN 8.Mitch NICHOLS, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 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: 6.Dylan FOX (promoted), 9.Nathan BURNS (promoted), 17.Callan ELLIOT (promoted)
Outs: 14.Alex RUFER (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable: 4.Mandi Sosa (Suspension - 1 week)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 4.Jake McGING, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), , 15.Kye ROWLES,18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 25.Jordan MURRAY, 26.Joshua NISBET **one to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS (return from injury), 3.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 26.Joshua NISBET (promoted)
Outs: 20.Kalifa CISSE (suspended – 1 week), 13.Aiden O’NEILL (suspended – 1 week),
Unavailable: 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf)
How to watch
Tune into Fox Sports 505 from 5:30pm AEDT or stream the match via the MyFootball Live App, live, fast and data-free for Telstra mobile customers.
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Head HERE to secure your seat for Saturday's clash between Wellington and Central Coast!
Round 13: Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners