Preview: Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC

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Round 15 sees the Central Coast Mariners travel to Allianz Stadium on Saturday night to take on Sydney FC.

This is the second match between the two sides in season 9, with the Mariners claiming the spoils in the first fixture, a 1-0 win in front of their home crowd at Bluetongue Stadium.

That night saw Sydney’s unbeaten streak finish at four, with the side since then falling to seventh on the ladder. While the Mariners have been up and down in their results and currently sit fourth behind an improving Melbourne Victory.

Central Coast are coming off a hard fought 1-1 draw away to Wellington, in a match they had numerous opportunities to win. While the Sky Blues went down 1-0 to their cross town rivals Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium.

Both sides are desperate for a win, and with this fixture usually providing plenty of entertainment, Saturday night’s clash is looming as the match of the round.

Ins & Outs:

Phil Moss has named an 18 man squad to face the Sky Blues with out of form defender Marcel Seip returning, after not being included against the Phoenix. Hayden Morton is again in contention, while young striker Tom Slater makes his first inclusion in the first team squad after overcoming a back injury.

The most notable out is that of captain John Hutchinson who is suspended this weekend after picking five yellow cards this season. Anthony Caceras should take his place in the starting XI.

Frank Farina has named a 17 man squad with the most notable player missing being that of Brett Emerton. The midfielder who has enjoyed a stellar career both at club level and for the Socceroos, retired on Thursday.

Nick Carle returns from suspension, while Joel Chianese makes a welcomed return from injury.

Who’s Said What:

Phil Moss (Mariners Coach):

“I honestly don’t look too deeply into their form, Sydney can be good one week, and not so the next.”

“At the end of the day we know what we have to do. We’ll take the game plan to Allianz and it’s about executing it, and in this league as you see week in, week out, the teams that can execute their game plan for 90 percent of the match ultimately win the game.”

Frank Farina (Sydney FC Coach):

“Every game is tough for every team.”

“We’ve got the Mariners but others teams have Brisbane and other teams have Melbourne, so for all of us we could say the same thing.”

“For us we just focus on each game as it comes and it’s important that we get 3 points, especially this weekend.”

The X-Factor:

Storm Roux has had an outstanding season to date in his first year at the Central Coast. Replacing Pedj Bojic who signed with Sydney over winter, Roux has been rewarded for his strong performances with round 14’s nomination for nab Young Footballer of the Year. He has provided plenty for the Mariners in defence, yet it’s his ability to get forward and overlap to create attacking opportunities that has caught the eye of many. He is a vital part of the Central Coast machine, and he if he can maintain or improve his performances each week, the Mariners are going to be successful in their run home to the finals.

Prediction:

This fixture always provides plenty of entertainment in what is one of the A-League’s original rivalries. While that rivalry isn’t as strong as it used to be, both sides always step up and provide a close contest (except for the famous 7-2 drubbing last season). Sydney won both home fixtures against the Mariners last year, however I can’t see that continuing in season 9. Central Coast will be keen to write the wrongs of last weekend in a game they should have won. A big crowd should turn out for this one, and I believe it’s the home fans that will go home disappointed.

Central Coast 2-1.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
Played 26. Wins: Central Coast 9, Sydney 10. Draws: 7

LAST TIME THEY MET:
Round 9, December 7, 2013. Bluetongue Stadium Gosford. Central Coast 1-0 Sydney

RECENT FORM (Last 5):
Central Coast: DDWLW
Sydney: LDLLW

Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 7.45pm local (7:45pm AEDT)
Referee: Peter O’ Leary
#SFCvCCM

Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (go), 2.Seb RYALL 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Ranko DESPOTOVIC, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Pedj BOJIC, 9.Corey GAMEIRO, 10.Alessandro DEL PIERO (c), 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 16.Joel CHIANESE, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (go), 22.Ali ABBAS, 27.Christopher NAUMOFF, 28.Matt THOMPSON, 34.Aaron CALVER
**One to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Joel CHIANESE (return from injury), 34.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.Nick CARLE (return from suspension)
Outs: 7.Brett EMERTON (retired), 35.Dylan CATON (returns to NYL).
Unavailable: 11.Richard GARCIA (1 week – bruised ankle), Rhyan GRANT (knee – season), Peter TRIANTIS (groin – indefinite), Terry ANTONIS (thigh – indefinite), Tiago CALVANO (Suspended – 1 matches), 24.Hagi GLIGOR (international duty).

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 2.Daniel MCBREEN, 3.Joshua ROSE, 4.Marcel SEIP, 5.Zachary ANDERSON, 6.Brent GRIFFITHS, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 9.Mitchell DUKE, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (Gk), 13.Hayden MORTON, 15.Storm ROUX, 16.Trent SAINSBURY, 17.Anthony CACERES, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Bernie IBINI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 22.Tom SLATER
*Two to be omitted*
Ins: 4.Marcel SEIP (promoted), 13.Hayden MORTON (promoted), 22.Tom SLATER (promoted)
Outs: 7.John HUTCHINSON (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 7.John HUTCHINSON (suspended — 1 week), 10.Marcos FLORES (knee – season), 14.Michael MCGLINCHEY (on loan – Vegalta Sendai), 18.Michael NEILL (knee – indefinite), 23.Adam KWASNIK (knee – season)

Matthew Berry

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

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