Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners

These two sides have only played out two draws in 15 matches, so the odds are good that we will see a result.

Date: Sunday November 11, 2012 Kick-off: 4.30pm NZT, 2.30pm AEDT Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Head-to-head: Played 15: Wins: Wellington 5, Central Coast 8, Draws: 2

Previous encounter: Wellington 1 Central Coast 2, March 25, 2012

Form: Past five matches: Wellington: WDDLL Central Coast: DWLWW

The Game: These sides head into this encounter with completely contrasting form lines. The Mariners will be buoyed by two consecutive victories, including last Saturday's 7-2 demolition of Sydney FC, while the Phoenix have endured two losses on Australian soil in defeats to Adelaide and Melbourne Victory.

That loss to the Reds occurred in one of the competition's more controversial matches as Ben Sigmund was dismissed for his challenge on Jeronimo Neumann, who fell theatrically and was roundly criticised. Nevertheless the league's match reviewers didn't agree and Sigmund was suspended for the 3-2 loss to Victory.

Sigmund will be an automatic inclusion for Wellington as coach Ricki Herbert looks to bolster his back four. And Benjamin Totori may be due a starting place in the side after striker Stein Huysegems injured his ankle early in the clash with Melbourne and was subdued from then on.

For Central Coast, the world is looking pretty rosy. On top of their smashing win over Sydney at Bluetongue Stadium last weekend, they had several senior players, like Oliver Bozanic and Adriano Pellegrino, continued their returns from injury in the National Youth League on Sunday.

The one down side with the Mariners' good form from last weekend was that midfielder Tom Rogic produced such an emphatic display he's been selected in Holger Osieck's Qantas Socceroos side for the November 14 friendly against South Korea, meaning it may be unlikely he will play against Wellington.

The big issue Wellington Phoenix: Wellington have been solid throughout a tough opening period to the season, but at the end of the day they have recorded just one win and that was against a desperately poor Sydney FC in Week 1.

They've gone four matches without taking maximum points since then, although the 1-1 draw with Heart can be excused by the fact more than half the side was unavailable on international duty with New Zealand.

Wellington's performances in Australia have always been their Achilles heel, and while they improved that record last season, it seems to have come back to haunt them again this term after giving up consecutive losses.

In the second match against Victory, the Phoenix were virtually anonymous throughout the opening 70 minutes as Melbourne ran through holes in their midfield and defence with ease.

Those defensive issues will be helped by Sigmund's return while being back at Westpac will always give Wellington a lift, but Herbert may still have to find a way past Central Coast's imposing defence without Huysegems, who may not have recovered from his ankle injury in time for this game.

Central Coast: It would probably be a little churlish to mention the fact Central Coast gave up two goals last weekend, when they produced seven down the other end. But coach Graham Arnold will still be a little concerned by those defensive lapses after they had conceded just twice in the opening four games.

The main problem for the Mariners, though, may be replacing Rogic in the No.10 position, if he is unavailable due to international duty. After such a great performance last weekend, Arnold will have wanted to keep a settled side for the trip over the Tasman, but that may be beyond his control.

It wouldn't surprise, though, if Bozanic returned to the starting line up after impressing in the National Youth League win over Sydney last Sunday and he may play Rogic's role.

The game breaker Daniel McBreen: Jeremy Brockie scored two superb goals for Wellington late in the match against Melbourne, but it's difficult to go past McBreen for this one after he scored the first hat-trick in Central Coast's history.

McBreen was unlucky not to have four to his name as his first effort at goal was turned in by Sebastian Ryall, but he still finished off the job with a quality header in the 67th minute as the Mariners remarkably scored their seventh goal in just 51 minutes of play.

McBreen also scored twice against Wellington when playing for Perth Glory in early 2010, but since then hasn't scored a single goal against the Nix. As a result it will be interesting to see whether he can step up again and take the game by the scruff of the neck, especially as he had been a trifle underwhelming in the two matches before the encounter with Sydney.

Prediction Wellington 1-2 Central Coast: It goes against statistical logic to back a win for Central Coast at Wellington's imposing Westpac Stadium, but something's telling me they will come away with the three points in this encounter.

These two sides have only played out two draws in 15 matches, so the odds are good that we will see a result. But earning a win against the Mariners has been tough at the best of times over the past few years for the Phoenix - they have lost the past five games - and doing it when you are a side that's a little down on confidence and luck is virtually impossible.

Central Coast on the other hand have found the clinical edge to match their impressive approach play over the past four rounds. Fit and firing, Central Coast should have the goods to take the points in Wellington on Sunday.