Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix
The Mariners produced its first home win of the season in Round 6 against the Glory and will be looking to make it two on the trot when they host the Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.
Date: Sunday October 19 Kick-off: 3:00pm local (3:00pm AEST) Venue: Bluetongue Stadium 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 96.3 (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.
Head-to-head Four A-League meetings: Wellington - 0 win, Central Coast - 3 wins, Draws - 1
Previous meeting Wellington 0, Central Coast 0, Westpac Stadium, Round 4, September 14, 2008
Past Five Games Central Coast: Round 3: Queensland Roar 2, Central Coast Mariners 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 4: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Central Coast Mariners 4, Perth Glory 1, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 3, Hindmarsh Stadium
Wellington: Round 3: Adelaide United 3, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 4: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 5: Perth Glory 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 6: Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney FC 1, Westpac Stadium Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Analysis The Mariners produced its first home win of the season in Round 6 against the Glory and will be looking to make it two on the trot when they host the Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.
If other results fall their way, the Mariners could leap into second position by the end of the weekend if they can overcome a Wellington side that's lifted its game by several notches following a disappointing 1-0 loss to the Perth Glory in Round 5.
But after demolishing the Glory 4-1 in its last home start, the Mariners produced one of the season's biggest fightbacks last round as they came from three goals down in the 70th minute to draw 3-3 with Adelaide, via two goals to Mile Jedinak and a score from in-form youngster Matt Simon.
Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna may be encouraged by the comeback but he certainly won't want his side to fall three goals down to the Phoenix this time around and he'll be looking for his side to break open Wellington's defence from the word go.
McKinna's defence may still be missing the experience of Dean Heffernan (Broken leg -six weeks) but the coach has an embarrassment of riches to choose from between the sticks. Newly re-signed 'keeper Danny Vukovic is eligible to play after serving his five-match suspension, although former Socceroo Mark Bosnich is the sentimental favourite to take the spot, as Bozza has recovered from the hamstring strain he suffered early in the Glory clash and is only eligible for one more match with the Gosford club.
Youngster Matthew Nash is also available (but has just missed selection) while Andrew Redmayne's efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed. Redmayne produced excellent performances deputising for Bosnich over the last two rounds and made a name for himself saving three penalties for the Qantas Young Socceroos during their penalty shoot-out victory in the AFF Under-19 Championship's final against Korea Republic.
However McKinna cannot call on Greg Owens (hamstring - 4 weeks), Andrew Gumprecht (knee - five weeks) or Ahmad Elrich (knee - season) for this week's match, although John Hutchinson (foot) will be tested.
The Phoenix, meanwhile, have demonstrated over the last two rounds that any team they play against are going to endure a torrid day at the office. The New Zealanders produced a shock 2-1 victory over the high-flying Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium in Round 5 before showing real character to come from a goal down and secure a point in a last-gasp 2-2 draw at Newcastle.
However, despite the results, the Phoenix still rely a fraction too heavily on forward target Shane Smeltz and if the striker is isolated up front, as he was against the Glory, and deprived of quality ball then the side appears a little fragile.
But the Phoenix is looking good coming into this clash with no injury concerns apart from Vince Lia who will miss the season with a knee injury. Outstanding goalkeeper Glen Moss looks set to return between the sticks after missing the last match with a rib injury. According to the club, the stopper still has some soreness, giving back-up 'keeper Mark Paston a chance to play, but Moss still made it through a full-tilt training clash with Hawks Bay on Tuesday, along with former Glory man Leo Bertos, who played a full 90 minutes.
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 40. Mark BOSNICH (gk).
*two to be omitted.
In: 7. John HUTCHINSON (Returns from Injury), 20. Danny VUKOVIC (Returns from Suspension), 40. Mark BOSNICH (Returns from Injury). Out: 1. Matthew NASH (Omitted).
Wellington Phoenix Squad: Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 21. Leilei GAO, 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain).
In: 4. Jon McKAIN (promoted), 20. Glen MOSS (gk) (return from injury). Out: 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE (groin - 1 week).