Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
The Glory head to Canberra with confidence sky-high after two consecutive wins but they'll be facing a Mariners side determined to defy the neutral venue and get their season back on track.
Date: Friday September 4 Kick-off: 8:00pm (AEST), 6:00pm (AWST) Venue: Canberra Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is Coast FM 96.3 (Gosford) and 6PR 882AM (Perth). To purchase tickets visit www.ticktek.com.au.
Head-to-head 12 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wins: Central Coast 8, Perth 1, Draws 3
Previous meeting Central Coast 1, Perth Glory 0, Bluetongue Stadium, Round 18, December, 2008
Season so far: Central Coast: Round 1: Melbourne Victory 0, Central Coast Mariners 2, Etihad Stadium Round 2: Central Coast 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 3: Central Coast 0, Sydney FC 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 4: Brisbane Roar 1, Central Coast 0, Suncorp Stadium
Perth Glory: Round 1: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 3: Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets 0, ME Bank Stadium Round 4: Perth Glory 2, Melbourne Victory 1, ME Bank Stadium
Analysis The Glory head to Canberra with confidence sky-high after two consecutive wins but they'll be facing a Mariners side determined to defy the neutral venue and get their season back on track.
Lawrie McKinna's men may have beaten Melbourne 2-0 in the opening round, but that's been the only win Central Coast has recorded in 2009 in both the Hyundai A-League and Asian Champions League. McKinna looks like he's had enough, though. After last Saturday's 1-0 loss to Brisbane, the coach attacked his players' passion, saying the fact his side hadn't received any yellow cards was indicative of a poor collective effort. You don't often hear comments like that from coaches, especially the controlled McKinna, so one imagines there's been plenty of soul searching done in Gosford this week.
The Mariners will have an extra five hours together discussing ways to atone as they travel from the Coast down to the national capital for this clash. With Bluetongue Stadium already in use, the club has relocated for the night to the somewhat neutral venue of Canberra Stadium. Glory coach Dave Mitchell believes this will hand Perth an advantage as it looks to record just its second away win in 25 games, but McKinna's having none of this, pointing to Central Coast's good support in Canberra due to a series of pre-season games played there, which the Mariners won convincingly.
Forward Dylan Macallister has been included after the Mariners barely looked like scoring for much of last weekend's game. With striker Matt Simon starved of quality ball and Brisbane's Craig Moore and Bob Malcom nullifying Adam Kwasnik and Nik Mrdja's aerial threat, avenues to goal were few and far between. Macallister's presence will give the Glory's defence a few more headaches, while McKinna's indicated the attacking Nicky Travis may start for Mrdja after being an influential figure when he came on for the last half hour. McKinna, though, still has to make three changes to his side after promoting Matthew Lewis and new signing Wolry Wolfe. Wolfe is a replacement for injured defender Shane Huke and has played 14 matches for the Jamaican national side. However, it's unlikely Wolfe will start, as McKinna's defence has been relatively stable so far, conceding just two goals, although they were fortunate Brisbane lacked a clinical finish last weekend.
Mitchell, meanwhile, has made just one change to the team that served him so well over the past fortnight with home wins over Newcastle and Melbourne. Andrija Jukic comes in, but it seems unlikely he'll be included in the final squad as his position will be taken by Brazilian guest Amaral. In contrast to last season, when the back four was a revolving door of faces through suspension and injury, Perth will field the same defence for its fourth week in a row as the experienced Andy Todd and Chris Coyne look to do the job Moore and co achieved so successfully last week.
Perth's midfield appears to be growing in confidence too. Victor Sikora may have had a slow start to his Glory career in 2008-09, but the Dutchman's been the club's best in the last two matches, while up front, strikers Branko Jelic and Mile Sterjovski just seem to be getting better. Sterjovski should have scored at least once last week when Jelic poached one on the line. But the Qantas Socceroo produced a brilliant header across goal in the second half for the predatory Jelic to complete his double. The Serbian striker's goals may not be great highlights, but he still finds himself in the right positions to score or use his back heels to set up others and that's a trait which could prove invaluable against Central Coast's back four.
The Glory have had a tough run against the Mariners, though, having only beaten them once in 12 Hyundai A-League encounters. A 1-0 defeat by Central Coast on New Year's Eve last year all-but finished off the Glory's late season charge to the top four and Mitchell will certainly remember this as he takes on his old boss Lawrie McKinna once again. The Mariners, though, will be more than aware they match up well against Perth and that the Glory are not quite the finished article yet as their poor first half against Melbourne last week demonstrated.
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 27. Wolry WOLFE.
*three to be omitted*
In: Dylan MACALLISTER (promoted), Matthew LEWIS (promoted), Wolry WOLFE (new signing)
Unavailable: Shane Huke (knee - 6 weeks), Chris Doig (calf - 2 weeks)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC, 24.Matthew MAYORA, 25.AMARAL
*one to be omitted*
In: 23.Andrija JUKIC (promoted)
Unavailable: Jamie COYNE (knee - 1 weeks), Jimmy DOWNEY (knee - 3 weeks), Anthony SKORICH (hip - 4 weeks)