Weekly Warm Up: Gold Coast United v Central Coast Mariners

Help United turn the table upside down! It's bottom versus top in the battle of the coasts as The Beach aims for an upset!

Help United turn the table upside down! It's bottom versus top in the battle of the coasts as The Beach aims for an upset!

Tests don't come much tougher than the one Miron Bleiberg's men face at Skilled Park on Friday night. Despite not quite being at their fluent best in recent weeks, Central Coast Mariners have breathing space at the top of the ladder after last week setting a new club record of 15 matches unbeaten.

However, United have already proved they've got what is required to take points from the leaders. Back at the start of the season, it took a late header from Mariners' Patrick Zwaanswijk to prevent the Gold Coast from leaving Bluetongue with all three points.

They had taken the lead thanks to a brilliant James Brown goal and then soaked up a whole lot of pressure, only to concede late on when it seemed the three points might be in the bag. Then, on New Year's Eve, the two teams played out a 0-0 draw in Gosford. It was United's fourth straight clean sheet and halted Central Coast's six-match winning streak.

Despite their fine efforts against the leaders over those two games though, Gold Coast still find themselves at the foot of the ladder. Last week, they once again threw away a match from a winning position against Sydney FC. Leading through Ben Halloran-s calm finish, they conceded two late goals to return from New South Wales empty-handed. It has been an all-too familiar story this season.

While the Mariners haven't managed to overcome this weekend's opponents yet in their otherwise outstanding Hyundai A-League campaign, they are still odds-on favourites to seal the Premier's Plate after last weekend extending their lead at the top of the ladder with a pulsating win over Adelaide United.

Once again, the spirit, belief and dedication within the players was notable as they turned about a 2-1 deficit to win by the odd goal in five. Impressively, the Mariners kept their eyes firmly on the prize despite trailing for much of the game and remained cool as cucumbers with two late strikes that sent the Yellow Army wild. Still, the Gold Coast will take heart from the fact that the usually solid Mariners back-line looked somewhat shaky against The Reds and were fortunate to only concede twice. If United can get at the Central Coast early on, then maybe they will be able to do similar damage.

Skilled Park is the place to be this Friday night for the battle of the Coasts!

Can United remain unbeaten against the Mariners for the whole of the 2011/12 season - or will the visitors take another leap towards the title?

Nothing is guaranteed in the Hyundai A-League, so this one could go either way. Grab your tickets today and get ready to see the action live and up close!