Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory

Is this to be Perth Glory's last stand? Well if David Mitchell and his men have any sense of occasion, they'll celebrate with a bang this New Year's Eve, defeat the Mariners and maintain their hopes of featuring in the top four at season's end. Worst case scenario is a second successive loss which will all but vanquish any hope of featuring in the

Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory Bren O'Brien

Date: Wednesday December 31 Kick-off: 6:00pm AEDT Venue: Bluetongue Stadium, Central Coast TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 3 and Sky Sport 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM and 6PR (Perth). To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.com.au

Head-to-head 11 Hyundai A-League meetings: Perth - 1 win, Central Coast - 7 wins, Draws - 3.

Previous meeting Perth 2, Central Coast 2, Members Equity Stadium, Round 13, November 2008

Past Five Games Central Coast: Round 13: Perth Glory 2, Central Coast Mariners 2, Members Equity Stadium Round 14: Central Coast Mariners 1, Queensland Roar 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 15: Central Coast Mariners 2, Sydney FC 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 16: Wellington Phoenix 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 17: Newcastle Jets 1, Central Coast Mariners 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Perth Glory: Round 13: Perth Glory 2, Central Coast Mariners 2, Members Equity Stadium Round 14: Perth Glory 3, Melbourne Victory 1, Members Equity Stadium Round 15: Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 16: Sydney FC 1, Perth Glory 4, Sydney Football Stadium Round 17: Perth Glory 0, Adelaide United 1, Members Equity

Analysis Is this to be Perth Glory's last stand? Well if David Mitchell and his men have any sense of occasion, they'll celebrate with a bang this New Year's Eve, defeat the Mariners and maintain their hopes of featuring in the top four at season's end. Worst case scenario is a second successive loss which will all but vanquish any hope of featuring in the post-season.

Glory trail the fourth-placed Mariners by six points coming into this match and while a win will keep them in with a chance, a defeat could leave them up to eight points adrift of the top four with three matches remaining. A draw will prolong things for another week, but would have them in a poor position for the post-season.

As for the Mariners, with the end of the season looming, Lawrie McKinna will be looking to get his team to consolidate its spot in the top four with successive wins for the first time this season. The last time Central Coast was able to back up one win with another was over 12 months ago and they need success here to put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

With Matt Simon and Dylan McAllister suspended, McKinna has called on injury-plagued striker Nik Mrdja, fresh from his brace in the youth league last week. Greg Owens and Paul O'Grady have also been included to lend some experience.

Mitchell has sent a message to his squad by omitting experienced pair David Tarka and Eugene Dadi for this match, while Wayne Srhoj misses with a corked thigh. Jamie Coyne comes back from injury, while Scott Bulloch and Scott Neville have been promoted.

But perhaps Mitchell's biggest worry is his team's terrible record at Bluetongue Stadium. Glory have never won a Hyundai A-League game at this ground in five attempts. They have conceded 12 goals and scored just two in those matches. That influences a lop-sided head to head record where Perth has won just one of 11 encounters overall with the Mariners.

Central Coast Mariners Squad. 2. Andre GUMPRECHT, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 12. Greg OWENS, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk) *one to be omitted.

In. 9. Nik MRDJA (Promoted), 12. Greg OWENS (Promoted), 13. Paul O'GRADY (Promoted). Out. 11. Dylan MACALLISTER (Suspended - 1 week), 19. Matt SIMON (Suspended - 1 week). Unavailable. 16. Nigel BOOGAARD (Ankle - Indefinite), 21. Ahmad ELRICH (Knee - Season).

Perth Glory Squad. 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 7.Nick RIZZO, 9.Adrian TRINIDAD, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 25.Marc ANTHONY, 29.Victor SIKORA, 31.Scott NEVILLE

In. 4.Jamie COYNE (return from injury), 11.Scott BULLOCH (promoted), 31.Scott NEVILLE (promoted from Youth Team) Out. 3.David TARKA (omitted), 14.Eugene DADI (omitted), 22.Wayne SRHOJ (corked thigh - 1 week) Unavailable. Josip MAGDIC (ankle - season), AMARAL (hamstring - season), James ROBINSON (abdomen - 1 week), Hayden FOXE (leg - test), Hayden DOYLE (ankle - 2 weeks).