Unfamiliar ground for Mariners

Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners head into Saturday's clash against Brisbane Roar on unfamiliar ground.

Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners head into Saturday's clash against Brisbane Roar on unfamiliar ground.

Graham Arnold's men are the clear favourites to win as they sit 11 points ahead of Brisbane on the ladder.

It's a far cry from clashes between the two clubs over the past couple of seasons where Roar have consistently been regarded as the better side.

The Mariners haven't lost in 15 matches while the reigning premiers have won just once in the past five games.

Central Coast should also be well rested prior to the match at Bluetongue Stadium, having not played in the last round thanks to their match against Gold Coast United being postponed due to flooding in and around Skilled Park on Friday.

Graham Arnold may have been glad of the unscheduled break as the Mariners only just claimed victory against Adelaide United and Melbourne Heart in the lead up to the Gold Coast match, with late goals clinching the points for the Gosford-based club.

Brisbane, on the other hand, are feeling the pinch after a shock loss to Newcastle Jets on Saturday as they head into a crucial fortnight of matches.

In the next two rounds, Roar will play the leading two teams away from home and defeats to both the Mariners and Wellington Phoenix would be a big blow to the reigning premiers' chances of a top-two finish.

Brisbane manager Ange Postecoglou will be thankful for the return of striker Besart Berisha against the Mariners after the Albanian international served his one-match suspension against Newcastle.

German playmaker Thomas Broich took on Berisha's role as the central forward against the Jets and struggled in the unfamiliar position.

Berisha was decisive in Brisbane's two matches before the Newcastle game, having scored late goals in both games to clinch points for his team.

The Brisbane striker will come up against Central Coast's own late-goal master, Adam Kwasnik, on Saturday.

The Mariners' veteran has scored crucial goals after coming off the bench in his side's last two games and would expect to again see action on Saturday in what will be teammate Josh Rose's 50th appearance in the A-League.