Markus Babbel will be searching for a rapid improvement in his Western Sydney Wanderers side when they host winless Central Coast Mariners on Friday evening.
The Wanderers enter the Spotless Stadium clash off the back of a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne Victory, a performance which Babbel said they showed “too much fear” in and a clash that was “men against boys”.
With Babbel’s stinging criticism ringing in their ears, the Wanderers will be desperate to respond and climb the Hyundai A-League table.
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The Red and Black have won just once this season - a 3-0 success at Wellington Phoenix last month - but have only played at home twice.
They face a Mariners side who remain without a victory despite another brave showing last time out.
Mike Mulvey’s men, who were seconds away from claiming a point only to lose 3-2 at table-toppers Perth Glory, backed up that effort with a 2-1 home defeat to Sydney FC that was perhaps harsh on them.
The Mariners have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 Hyundai A-League matches and did not win any of the three meetings against Western Sydney last season, their best result being a 2-2 draw at Spotless Stadium in October.
Key Opta Stats
- Western Sydney Wanderers have won six of their last nine Hyundai A-League games against Central Coast Mariners (D2, L1), including their last two meetings.
- It has been over a year since Central Coast Mariners last won a game away from home (Nov 25, 2017), while their last away win in New South Wales came against the Wanderers at Spotless Stadium in February 2017 (2-0).
- Mariners defender Kye Rowles has made 21 tackles and 18 interceptions this Hyundai A-League season, the second most of any player in either category.
Ins and Outs
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Danijel NIZIC (gk), 4.Josh RISDON, 5.Brendan HAMILL (c), 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Alexander BAUMJOHANN, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 16.Jaushua SOTRIO, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 18.Marc TOKICH, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Rashid MAHAZI, 24.Raul LLORENTE, 28.Roly BONEVACIA, 34.Patrick ZIEGLER, 49.Abraham MAJOK
Ins: 22.Rashid MAHAZI (promoted), 28.Roly BONEVACIA (returns from injury), 34.Patrick Ziegler (promoted)
Outs: 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (Not Selected)
Unavailable: 12.Ruon TONGYIK (injury – one week), 19.Mark BRIDGE (injury – two weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 16.Josh MACDONALD, 18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 20.Kalifa CISSE, 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 44.Ross McCORMACK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 20.Kalifa CISSE (return from suspension) & 44.Ross McCORMACK (return from injury)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee), 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf), 25.Jordan MURRAY (ankle)
How to watch
Do not miss any of the action on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7:50pm AEDT or through the MyFootball Live App.
Be there as the Wanderers host the Mariners. Secure your seat here.