Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets

The Mariners must cope with the loss of star midfielder Tom Rogic, while the Jets must build on their battling win against Brisbane last week.

Date: Saturday January 19, 2013 Kick-off: 7.45pm ADST Venue: Bluetongue Stadium

Head-to-head Played: 28 Wins: Central Coast 10, Newcastle 9, Draws: 9

Previous encounter Newcastle 0, Central Coast 2, December 8, 2012

Form: Past five matches: Central Coast: DLWWD Newcastle: WLLDW

The Game The Mariners will likely be without star midfielder Tom Rogic again with his move to Scottish Premier League side Celtic imminent. Bernie Ibini is away trialling with Belgian side Club Brugge and may also be unavailable, leaving the Mariners somewhat sparse in attack.

The Jets were good value for their 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar last Saturday and will take confidence into the derby knowing they can solidify their spot in the top six.

Captain Ruben Zadkovic pulled the strings for Newcastle with plenty of drive from midfield and his energetic presence should guide the visitors against an experienced Mariners side.

However, Central Coast's settled back four is very hard to pierce and has been only four times at home this season.

Newcastle are one of only two sides to defeat Graham Arnold's side this season (with Sydney) and will back themselves to do the same on Saturday.

Arnold himself will be in the outer after receiving a touchline ban for his derogatory comments in the Mariners' 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory in Launceston.

The Big Issue Central Coast Mariners: The loss of Tom Rogic and contiuing uncertainty over goalkeeper Mat Ryan and striker Bernie Ibini have the potential to disrput what has so far been an excellent season for the Mariners.

Graham Arnold's side lost key players in Rostyn Griffiths and Matt Simon in the midst of last season and still went on to win the premiership - but can they do it again?

It's a lot to ask of any A-League team, never mind one with the limited resources of Central Coast.

Newcastle Jets: The Jets have had an up-and-down season but catapulted themselves back into finals contention last week with a crucial 1-0 win over Brisbane. Yet the Jets can ill-afford to rest on their laurels with another away fixture beckoning in Wellington next week.

Neither the Mariners or Phoenix will gift easy points but with Perth and Heart closing in the Jets must continue their momentum and what better way to do so than in the derby?

Gamebreaker Daniel McBreen continues to defy his years and extended his A-League best goal tally to 13 with a penalty against Melbourne Victory last week. The spot kick earned the Mariners a hard-fought point in Launceston and it was McBreen who tore the Jets apart last time the sides met in December.

The 35-year-old half-volleyed the Mariners into the lead and headed them two goals clear to avenge their only loss of the season to that date, against Newcastle in round three.

Prediction: Central Coast Mariners 2, Newcastle Jets 1 The Mariners are undefeated in six home games this season and will be tough to beat at Bluetongue again. A slight drop in form has plagued the league leaders of late but two wins, two draws and a loss in five games is far from poor in anyone's language, particularly given four of those games have been on the road.

Rogic looks set for Scotland, leaving the Mariners' title push in the capable hands of a mature and hardened squad. The Jets will come out firing as they always do in the derby but the Mariners should still have enough on their home patch.