Preview: Central Coast v Wellington

Is this the game in which Central Coast finally clicks or is the decline irreversible?

Date: Thursday December 31 Kick-off: 6pm AEDST Venue: Bluetongue Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is Coast FM 96.3 (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit

Head-to-head 7 A-League meetings: Central Coast 3 wins, Wellington 2 wins, 2 draws.

Previous Meeting Wellington 0, Central Coast 0, Round 8, September 27, 2009

Past five matches: Central Coast: Round 16: Central Coast 0, Perth Glory 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 17: Gold Coast United 2, Central Coast Mariners 1, Skilled Park Round 18: Central Coast 0, Melbourne Victory 3, Bluetongue Stadium Round 20: Central Coast 2, Brisbane Roar 3, Bluetongue Stadium Round 19: Central Coast 0, Sydney FC 1, Bluetongue Stadium

Wellington: Round 15: Newcastle Jets 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 16: Brisbane Roar 4, Wellington Phoenix 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 17: Wellington Phoenix 1, Melbourne Victory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 18: Wellington Phoenix 0, Sydney FC 1, FMG Stadium Round 20: Adelaide United 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Hindmarsh Stadium

Analysis: Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna claims his team has been playing well enough but just not getting the rub of the green during its record four-match losing streak.

By McKinna's reckoning, the scorecard should have read two wins and two draws.

Unfortunately it's been four consecutive defeats and a slide out of the top six.

Being back home for this New Year's Eve clash won't be of any great comfort for Central Coast as its form at Bluetongue Stadium is nothing special.

They will also be without Dean Heffernan Danny Vukovic (both on Qantas Socceroos duty in Kuwait) and Nigel Boogaard (suspension).

Eleven months after joining the club, midfielder Shane Huke is set to make his home debut.

The English-born Huke suffered a knee injury during the 2009/10 pre-season and is just one game into his Hyundai A-League comeback.

Wellington is pretty much at full strength, having not played a game since December 18.

They do have Ben Sigmund (suspension) and Chris Greenacre (leg injury) missing and have decided not to risk Daniel Cortes' suspect groin, but Danny Muscat is back from suspension and classy Adrian Caceres looks set for a starting berth against his old club despite a lack of recent game time.

Victory will take the Kiwis, currently ninth, past the Mariners and into seventh spot on the table.

Is this the game in which Central Coast finally clicks or is the decline irreversible?

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 3. Shane HUKE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Panny NIKAS, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. Matt SIMON, 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Matthew RYAN. *three to be omitted*

IN: Panny NIKAS, Matthew LEWIS, Andrew CLARK, Ahmad ELRICH, Adam KWASNIK, Matthew RYAN (all promoted)

OUT: Danny VUKOVIC (international duty), Dean HEFFERNAN (international duty), Nigel BOOGAARD (suspended - 1 week)

UNAVAILABLE: Chris DOIG (quad - 1 week)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. DIEGO, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Adrian CACERES, 17. Vince LIA, 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES, 40. Liam REDDY (gk) In: Manny MUSCAT (return from suspension) Out: DANIEL (groin 1 -week) Unavailable: Mark PASTON (leg - season) Ben SIGMUND (suspended - 1 week), Chris GREENACRE (leg - 1 week)