Moss: The Challenge Is To Go Back-To-Back

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After recording their second win of season 9 away against Perth, the Central Coast Mariners this Friday night return home to take on Melbourne Victory.

After Perth went up 1-0 early, goals to Michael McGlinchey and Mitchell Duke earned the Mariners the three points. It was a maiden win for Phil Moss in his first official game as the club’s new head coach.

While down in Melbourne, Kevin Muscat enjoyed his second win as the Victory’s new head coach as his side defeated Adelaide United 3-0 despite being down to 10 men for the entire second half.

Both clubs have developed a healthy rivalry over past seasons, something that Moss knows will continue Friday night.

“The Melbourne Victory, Mariners games are always big, and they’re always high intensity…. it should be a cracker of a game” Moss said.

Ins and Outs:
Last week Moss gave Brent Griffiths his first start of the season as he partnered Trent Sainsbury in the middle of defence, an idea that Moss and Graham Arnold had been discussing for weeks.

“I really wanted to bring some stability in at the back, he’s got a great left foot, and he’s capable of the switch of play” Moss said.

Anthony Caceras was another player who enjoyed more playing time after he came on early when Nick Montgomery went off with injury.

Moss was pleased with his performance, however Montgomery has done everything required of him in his recovery during the week, with Moss stating he will wait to the last minute as to who he selects to start.

Central Coast have begun each of their six games with six different starting sides, and this week will be no different. When asked about having more stability, the Mariners boss said he would rather have a more settled squad, instead of having to chop and change.

“Our focus at the club is stability, both on and off the field. It would be nice to go in to back-to-back games with the same eleven”

“But its always good to have players waiting in the wings to put pressure on, and come in and know what their role is,” Moss added.

Melbourne Victory will also be forced in to a changed eleven this week as defender Adrian Leijer was sent off against Adelaide after picking up two yellow cards, while Leigh Broxham is also unavailable.

Muscat has confirmed that Jason Geria and Nick Ansell will start in place of Leijer and Broxham. James Troisi also retains his starting spot, despite a verbal altercation with Muscat as he was substituted just before half time last week.

The Key Issue:
Both sides will use their wins last week to build momentum for games to come. The Mariners who sit in sixth have had their annual ‘sluggish start’ and must now string multiple wins together. Defensively they need to remain focused for the entire 90 minutes. Twice in two games the Mariners have conceded due to lapses in concentration, and have been saved on many occasions by (surprising) performances from Liam Reddy.

Kevin Muscat equally needs momentum as he continues the battle to win over Victory fans. While Adelaide hardly posed a threat last week, Victory know they are in for a much tougher task against the reigning champions.

The X-Factor:
After being overlooked for Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad to face Costa Rica recently, Archie Thompson is hungry for goals that will help to earn him a spot on the plane to Brazil. After scoring last week, confidence will be high for Thompson who will provide plenty of headaches for the Mariners defence. His partnership with James Troisi and Mitch Nichols is vital to the Victory’s chances of winning.

Luckily for SBS they have picked up some cracking Friday night games so far this season, and this clash will be no different. The Mariners know the Victory are contenders this year (and vice versa) so getting a win over them early in the season goes a long way come the later rounds. Central Coast are unbeaten at home against the Victory since 2010, an I believe the win last week has provided a much needed spark for the Central Coast that will keep the newly lit fire burning at Bluetongue.

Mariners 2-0

Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Round 8
Friday 29 November, 2013
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 7:30pm

Played 25. Wins: Central Coast 9, Victory 9. Draws: 7

April 14, 2013: Central Coast 1 – 0 Victory

Central Coast: DWDLW
Victory: WWLLW

Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry is Football Central's Central Coast Mariners correspondent.

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