While much of the lead-up to this game has centered on the Mariners moving this from their home ground in Gosford to North Sydney Oval - as well as concerns over the surface expressed by the Big V - this promises to be a fascinating clash of styles on Friday night.
Friday, 5 December 2014
North Sydney Oval, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.40pm (Local), (7.40pm AEDST)
Central Coast Mariners 1. Matt NASH, 2. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Matthew SIM, 17. Richard VERNES, 18. Glen TRIFIRO, 21. Michael NEILL, 23. Isaka CERNAK, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong
**two to be omitted**
Ins 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from suspension), 26. KIM Seung-yong (promoted)
Unavailable 6. Brent GRIFFITHS (injury – indefinite)
Melbourne Victory 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 4. Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN (c) 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 18. Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER
**two to be omitted**
Ins 2. Jason GERIA (returns from injury), 13. Andrew NABBOUT (promoted), 18. Dylan MURNANE (promoted), 22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted)
Outs 7. Gui FINKLER (groin – 1 week), 24. Scott GALLOWAY (quad – 1 week)
Unavailable 17. Matthieu DELPIERRE (foot – tbc)
TV - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio - 92.5 ABC Central Coast, 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app. Coast FM
Referee Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1 Leigh Pigram
Assistant Referee 2 James Tesoriero
Fourth Official Luke Withell
Despite a difficult season so far, the Mariners have displayed their renowned fighting qualities over the last few weeks and they will need to draw on all that and more in this one.
The Mariners welcome back midfielder Nick Montgomery from suspension and he could slot straight back into the starting XI given Victory’s strength in that area of the pitch.
Victory has been dealt a blow with playmaker Gui Finkler out with a groin injury, while full-back Scott Galloway also misses out with a quad problem.
Coach Kevin Muscat has to decide whether to just bring Jason Geria straight in on the right or shift Daniel Georgievski to that spot and use Dylan Murnane at left-back. Either Fahid Ben Khalfallah or Jesse Makarounas will fill the ‘no.10’ role vacated by Finkler.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Victory is unbeaten in three against the Mariners, winning the last two each by 3-1 score lines (D1).
-Victory is unbeaten this season, never before have they gone their opening eight Hyundai A-League games in a single season without defeat.
-Central Coast Mariners have a passing accuracy of 82.89 percent; a Hyundai A-League-high.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The Mariners were dangerous in the F3 derby on Sunday when full-backs Jacob Poscoliero and Michael Neill were able to get forward and join in the attack, the latter setting up Richard Vernes’ equalizer.
They will need more of that though if they are to create enough chances to trouble Victory.
It won’t be an easy task, especially with Victory’s strength beings their wingers like Kosta Barbarouses, Archie Thompson and Fahid Ben Khalfallah. The trio’s pace may just be enough for the Mariners to be conservative and not push up too high.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Mark Milligan. The Melbourne skipper has been quite vocal in the build-up to this match about his fear surrounding the quality of the North Sydney Oval surface. Milligan has battled a knee problem for much of the season and it will be interesting to see how he handles the surface - though Wednesday night's deluge in Sydney has softened the pitch dramatically.
Coe: Victory focused on points not pitch
Central Coast is still without a win since the opening weekend of the season but last Sunday’s derby stalemate was their third draw from the last four matches. Victory continued their sensational season, winning a classic against Adelaide United 3-2 last Friday to remain unbeaten after eight matches. The Mariners have managed to hold Victory scoreless in four of their last six meetings on home turf – although they have moved this fixture to North Sydney.
DID YOU KNOW?
Three of the last four goals scored for Melbourne Victory have been own goals.
Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Victory
Given Victory’s incredible firepower expect the Mariners to try and sit deep and hit the visitors on the break. While the absence of Finkler is a blow in trying to unlock a congested defence, Victory has shown they have the depth of talent in the squad to cover for anyone.
Don’t expect a clash as free-flowing as the Victory’s match with Adelaide last round but they should get the same result…a win by the odd goal at the picturesque North Sydney Oval.