Okon's challenge to Mariners ahead of Wanderers clash
Central Coast Mariners boss Paul Okon has challenged his side to become a more consistent outfit ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Mariners have failed to record a victory in their last nine A-League matches but remain just three points adrift of the top six heading into Round 19.
Central Coast remain the only side to have beaten runaway leaders Sydney FC this season but they’ve managed back-to-back wins just once for the campaign.
Okon admitted the Mariners’ mental fragility has been a significant issue throughout the year but expects his side to bounce back from last week’s loss to Brisbane Roar.
“The teams who consistently perform in the A-League translate that into consistent results which gives you the best chance of being higher up the ladder and playing finals football. We do know that it’s been an issue for us for a while now,” Okon said.
“One week we will perform above expectations, then the following week we’ve been disappointing. It’s an area that we’re working on, mentally we’ve struggled and we’ve been doing a bit of work on that.
“We’re at the point where we expect to perform, not hope. We don’t want to look beyond that next game which is the Wanderers, it’s a home game and we’re confident that we will perform.”
The Mariners will be without captain Alan Baro who misses the clash due to suspension, with new signing Jacob Poscoliero set to slot into the centre of defence.
Western Sydney won the previous encounter between the sides back in December (2-0) and Okon believes his side are well prepared to turn that result around.
“We don’t think too much will change from our previous encounters with them, at this stage of the season there aren’t too many surprises,” Okon said.
“If we can execute our game plan, the concern isn’t our opposition, we need to perform and perform with energy.
“We need to take the initiative and I really expect us to do that and I’m confident that it can translate into a positive result.”