Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners

There's good value on offer at Westpac Stadium this Friday with the Wellington Phoenix offering its supporters a two-for-one ticket deal. The players are faced with a similar enticement on the pitch with loads to be gained from beating the Central Coast Mariners.

Date: Friday December 19 Kick-off: 7.30pm local (5.30pm AEST) Venue: Westpac Stadium Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM and Coast FM (Gosford) 96.3FM. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.co.nz

Head-to-head

Past 5 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wellington Phoenix - 1 win, Central Coast - 3 wins, Draws - 1.

Previous meeting Central Coast 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Stadium, Round 8, October 2008

Past Five Games

Wellington Phoenix:

Round 11: Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney Football Stadium

Round 12: Wellington Phoenix 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium

Round 13: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 1, Westpac Stadium

Round 14: Adelaide United 6, Wellington Phoenix 1, Hindmarsh Stadium

Round 15: Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium

Central Coast:

Round 11: Central Coast 3, Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium

Round 12: Melbourne 2, Central Coast 1, Telstra Dome

Round 13: Perth Glory 2, Central Coast 2, Members Equity Stadium

Round 14: Central Coast 1, Queensland Roar 1, Bluetongue Stadium

Round 15 Central Coast 2, Sydney FC 1, Bluetongue Stadium

Analysis

There's good value on offer at Westpac Stadium this Friday with the Wellington Phoenix offering its supporters a two-for-one ticket deal. The players are faced with a similar enticement on the pitch with loads to be gained from beating the Central Coast Mariners.

A victory would see them move into fifth position with only the goal difference keeping them out of the top four. They'd also be in striking distance of the competition's frontrunners.

Conversely, a loss gives the Mariners some breathing space in fourth spot and tightens the screws on the home side.

It's been a disappointing couple of weeks for the Phoenix with the side losing 6-1 to Adelaide while they collected just a point against Perth last weekend.

They also lost Ben Sigmund during the Glory game with a hip injury.

However Wellington is improving - according to coach Ricki Herbert they had 17 scoring opportunities against Perth while Tim Brown recorded his third goal of the year.

And importantly the Phoenix are yet to lose a game to the Mariners in 2008-09 and have kept a clean sheet in the clashes.

Central Coast did play out a draw with Wellington the last time they ventured to New Zealand and its never-say-die approach ensures it'll be a good chance of collecting at least a point from this contest.

They recorded a 2-1 victory over Sydney FC last week with Mile Jedinak slotting a penalty in the 90th minute.

Fitness of key players could determine how well the visitors perform. Central defender Andrew Clark has been taken to Wellington as cover for Matthew Osman while Brad Porter and goal scorer Dylan Macallister have minor injuries too.

Sasho Petrovski says the Mariners are still chasing the minor premiership but with their season hanging by a thread the Phoenix should come out firing.

Expect Shane Smeltz to bounce back from a disappointing performance against Perth and continue Central Coast's recent bad run against the Kiwis. Wellington to win 2-1.

Wellington Phoenix Squad. 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain), 25. Manny MUSCAT, 30. Scott HIGGINS (gk).

In. 8. Vaughan COVENY (promoted), 12. Richard JOHNSON (promoted), 15. Adam KWASNIK (promoted).

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, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 15. Andrew CLARK, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).

In. 15. Andrew CLARK (Promoted)