Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Queensland Roar
The finals have come a three weeks early for these two teams, both of which still have designs on the Premiership, but still have some work to do to make sure they are part of the post-season.
Date: Saturday January 10 Kick-off: 7:00pm AEDT Venue: Bluetongue Stadium, Central Coast TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 11 Hyundai A-League meetings: Central Coast - 2 wins, Queensland Roar - 3 wins, Draws - 6.
Previous meeting Central Coast 1, Queensland Roar 1 Bluetongue Stadium, Round 14, December 2008
Past Five Games Central Coast: 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 Round 18: Central Coast Mariners 1, Perth Glory 0, Bluetongue Stadium
Queensland: Round 13: Sydney FC 1, Queensland Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 14: Central Coast Mariners 1, Queensland Roar 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 15: Queensland Roar 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 17: Queensland Roar 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, Suncorp Stadium Round 18: Melbourne Victory 2, Queensland Roar 1, Telstra Dome
Analysis The finals have come a three weeks early for these two teams, both of which still have designs on the Premiership, but still have some work to do to make sure they are part of the post-season.
Central Coast has had a good break ahead of this match, after prevailing 1-0 over Perth in its traditional New Year's Eve match. The ten-day gap has allowed Lawrie McKinna to take some time to assess where his team are at and an opportunity to motivate his team to make a late charge towards a defence of their Premiership.
The Mariners' inclusions are significant for this match with the strike pair of Dylan Maccallister and Matt Simon. They missed that pair in the Glory match with a John Hutchison cracker from range required to get the points there. However, they lose Mile Jedinak, who is off to Turkey, and that's a big hole to fill. Given its strong record at Bluetongue Stadium, Queensland will enter this match with the confidence that it can rediscover its winning ways after last week's loss to Melbourne. The Roar has never lost at this ground in the Hyundai A-League. Whether that's just one of those anomalies or the Roar like the Gosford waterfront, Frank Farina will have some confidence his young side can walk away with something from this match.
In a major blow, Queensland will be without Liam Reddy, who is injured with Griffin McMaster to take up the spot between the posts. Matt Ham comes in as a back up while Hyuk Su-Seo is back in an extended squad.
Historically, there has been very little between these two teams with six of their 11 Hyundai A-League matches resulting in draws, including their last match at Bluetongue Stadium in December. In that match, Sergio Van Dijk gave Queensland an early lead before Andre Gumprecht conjured a late equaliser for the Mariners.
Central Coast Mariners: . 2.Andre GUMPRECHT, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 5.Bradley PORTER, 7.John HUTCHINSON, 8.Dean HEFFERNAN, 9.Nik MRDJA, 10.Adrian CACERES, 11.Dylan MACALLISTER, 13.Paul O'GRADY, 15.Andrew CLARK, 17.Matthew OSMAN, 18.Alex WILKINSON, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22.Sasho PETROVSKI, 30.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).
*one to be omitted
In. 11.Dylan MACALLISTER (Returns from Suspension), 19.Matt SIMON (Returns from Suspension).
Out. 23.Mile JEDINAK.
Unavailable: 16.Nigel BOOGAARD (Ankle - Indefinite), 21.Ahmad ELRICH (Knee - Season).
Queensland Roar Squad: 2.Andrew PACKER, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Craig MOORE (c), 5.Josh McCLOUGHAN, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 12.Tahj MINNIECON, 14.Ben GRIFFIN, 15.Matthew McKAY, 16.Hyuk_Su SEO, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Danny TIATTO, 20.Griffin McMASTER (gk), 21.Tommy OAR, 40.Matt HAM (gk).
*one to be omitted.
In. 16.Hyuk-Su SEO (promoted), 40.Matt HAM (short-term injury replacement).
Out 1.Liam REDDY (injured).
Unavailable. REINALDO (groin injury), Isaka Cernak (knee injury), Charlie MILLER (hernia).