Grim times in Gosford; better times in Brizzy. And with Roar's ripper record on the Central Coast the Orange Army should be confident heading into this post-Christmas clash with Moss's Mariners.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5pm (Local), (5pm AEDST)
Central Coast Mariners 1. Matt NASH (Gk), 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Matt SIM, 17. Richard VERNES, 18. Glen TRIFIRO, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Anthony KALIK, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong
***two to be omitted***
Ins 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO (promoted), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 23. Isaka CERNAK (promoted)
TV - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio - Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app. Coast FM
Referee Matthew Conger
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2: Sarah Ho
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Two of the Hyundai A-League’s most successful clubs in recent years haven’t enjoyed the best start to this campaign and meet in a real season-defining clash. The Mariners are still searching for a second win of the season – the first coming way back in October – while Brisbane look to be coming out of their slump, with seven points from a possible 12 under new boss Frans Thijssen.
Central Coast’s home record against Brisbane is horrible, losing 10 times in 16 games against the defending champions in Gosford.
With young defender Michael Neill out injured, Mariners boss Phil Moss will need to make at least one change at left-back, with Josh Rose – who has played centrally recently – like to shift out to the flank. It means either Jacob Poscoliero or Eddy Bosnar will come in at centre-back.
Veteran midfielder Nick Montgomery also returns and is likely to slot straight back into the middle of the park alongside skipper John Hutchinson. Shane Stefanutto is back for Brisbane after more than a month out with a groin problem. It will be interesting to see if Roar bring in the veteran straight in at left back or stick with youngster Corey Brown who has performed well in his absence. Henrique was forced off injured in Roar’s last fixture but has been named in a huge boost for the visitors given his impressive record in front of goal this season.
OPTA DATA STATS
-The Mariners have won just two of their 16 home meetings with Brisbane (D4 L10), though these victories have come inside the last three meetings at Central Coast Stadium.
-Four of Brisbane Roar’s last five Hyundai A-League games have ended in a 1-0 scoreline, two wins and two defeats.
-Roar’s last six away Hyundai A-League games have alternated between defeat and victory, winning their last away game at Adelaide.
-Mariners have attempted 5122 passes this season; only their opponents Brisbane have attempted more (5205).
ROUTE TO GOAL
With the exception of the Wanderers – who have played two fewer games – the Mariners have scored the least goals in the Hyundai A-League. Moss’ side has little trouble building up through defence and midfield but seem to hit a wall when they get into their opponent’s danger-zone. Matt Simon is the only one looking likely to score. Nick Fitzgerald and Richie Vernes have shown glimpses but have yet to really cash-in.
Brazilian Henrique has been Roar’s chief threat with seven goals for the season but Thijssen will be hoping for more thrust from other areas. Dimitri Petratos has yet to trouble the scorers this season while it’s time for the likes of Brandon Borrello, Jean Carlos Solorzano and Mensur Kurtishi to start delivering.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Matt McKay. It’s been some few days for McKay, first named new skipper of Brisbane following Matt Smith’s departure, signing a two-year contract extension and also being selected in the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup. Without Smith and injured duo Thomas Broich and Michael Theo, McKay is one of the most experienced players left in Roar’s starting XI and still has a huge role to play in the team’s success. Expect another tireless, no-frills display from the 31-year-old who always leads by example. It’s up to the rest of his team-mates to go with him if they are to continue their recent improvement.