Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
The importance of this match will be very much determined by what happens earlier in the weekend. Central Coast could be well and truly safe inside the top four if Wellington lose and would have nothing to gain from this match given they would finish fourth regardless.
Date: Sunday January 25 Kick-off: 7:00pm AEDT Venue: Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM and FRESH FM (Adelaide).To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 12 Hyundai A-League meetings: Central Coast 5 wins, Adelaide 4 wins, Draws - 3.
Previous meeting Central Coast Mariners 3 Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium, Round 11, November 2008
Past Five Games Central Coast: Round 16: Wellington Phoenix 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 17: Newcastle Jets 1, Central Coast Mariners 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 18: Central Coast Mariners 1, Perth Glory 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 19: Central Coast Mariners 3, Queensland Roar 4, Bluetongue Stadium Round 20: Melbourne Victory 3, Central Coast Mariners 0, Telstra Dome
Adelaide: Round 18: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0. Adelaide Oval Round 15: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 19: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 16: Adelaide United 0, Queensland Roar 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 20: Wellington Phoenix 1, Adelaide United 1, Westpac Stadium
Analysis The importance of this match will be very much determined by what happens earlier in the weekend. Central Coast could be well and truly safe inside the top four if Wellington lose and would have nothing to gain from this match given they would finish fourth regardless.
It's a different story for Adelaide, which will most likely need to win this match to keep its hopes of winning the Premier's Plate alive. The Reds lead Melbourne on goal difference, but should the Victory secure a hefty win over Wellington, then Adelaide will need to at least match that result to ensure it stays top. The other concern is Queensland, which could put considerable pressure on Adelaide with a win over Sydney on Saturday night.
In that situation, a loss or draw could see the Reds miss the double chance and then play the Mariners the following week in a sudden-death two-legged tie.
So there is a lot for Aurelio Vidmar's men, who have won just one of their past four, to lose this week. But at least they will know exactly what they will have to do.
Cassio returns in a timely boost, while Lucas Pantelis and Robert Younis are also back in with Sasa Ognenovski suspended and Matthew Mullen left out.
Ognenovski's absence is a big one for Adelaide, which has conceded six goals in two games against Central Coast this year. In the first game, they drew 3-3, while the Mariners pounded the Reds 3-0 the last time they met.
Suspensions have hit Central Coast hard in this match with Dean Heffernan serving the first of a two match ban and Andrew Clark picking up a fifth yellow card in the heavy defeat against Melbourne. Nigel Boogaard comes in, along with Greg Owens, while two youth league players, Brady Smith and Matthew Lewis will be blooded if needed,
Lawrie McKinna has a few defensive worries of his own with his side having conceded seven goals in its past two matches against Melbourne and Queensland. The momentum has quickly slipped away from the Mariners and while they will most likely make the finals, McKinna needs a good result here to have his side headed in the right direction for February.
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 2. Andre GUMPRECHT, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 12. Greg OWENS, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 27. Brady SMITH, 28. Matthew LEWIS, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk). *two to be omitted. In. 12. Greg OWENS (Promoted), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD (Returns from Injury), 27. Brady SMITH (Promoted from NYL), 28. Matthew LEWIS (Promoted from NYL) Out. 8. Dean HEFFERNAN (Suspended - 2 rounds), 15. Andrew CLARK (Suspended - 1 round) Unavailable. 6. David D'APUZZO (Knee - Indefinite), 17. Matthew OSMAN (Hamstring - Indefinite), 21. Ahmad ELRICH (Knee - Season).
Adelaide United Squad: 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.Paul AGOSTINO, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 24.Paul REID, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk). * 1 to be omitted.
In: 6.CASSIO (promoted), 7.Lucas PANTELIS (returns from injury), 25.Robert YOUNIS (promoted)
Out: 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (suspended), 26.Matthew MULLEN (omitted)
Unavailable 1.Daniel BELTRAME (gk) (knee - season), 22.DIEGO (quad - 1 week), 16.Daniel MULLEN (knee - 3 weeks), 8.Kristian SARKIES (ankle - test), 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO (knee - 2 weeks)