The Mariners are finally back in action this weekend, taking on ladder leaders Sydney FC in round 10 of the Hyundai A-League.
A weekend off with the bye since a loss to Brisbane has allowed the squad to freshen up and be prepared for arguably their toughest test of the campaign so far.
Brazilian forward Jair is back in the squad from injury and a chance to make his competitive debut for the Mariners, while Jordan Murray is unavailable after taking a hit to the head in training during the week.
Saturday’s opponents come into the game off the back of a 5-1 thumping of the Roar last weekend, and Alen Stajcic said that while Sydney have their stars, the focus needs to be on stopping the team as a whole rather than individuals.
“It’s not stopping them [the stars], it’s stopping everyone,” he said.
“They’ve scored from the back, they’ve scored the most amount of set pieces in the competition."
“You can stop their big four but McGowan’s popped up and scored, Rhyan Grant has scored goals, it’s not a team that lacks any depth and if you focus on one or two players you’re focussing on the wrong thing.”
“What a great challenge for us though, we’ve trained really well this week, and we’re all really looking forward to the clash and how we compare to the best team in the competition.”
“We’re gonna have to be at our best to be competitive against them. I know we can be, and I know we will be.”
The meeting is a chance for the Mariners to secure their first win over the reigning Champions since November 2017, when a 2-0 victory at Central Coast Stadium handed the Yellow & Navy bragging rights.
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 7. Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 16.Joel KING, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Luke IVANOVIC, 20.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 21.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.Marco TILIO, 25. Ryan TEAGUE, 26.Luke BRATTAN
**2-4 to be omitted**
In: 24.Marco TILIO (promoted), 7.Michael ZULLO (return from injury)
Unavailable: 3.Ben WARLAND (ACL), 13. Brandon O’NEILL (knee), 19. Chris ZUVELA (knee)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3.Jack CLISBY, 4. Eunsun KIM, 6.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 7. Milan ÐURIĆ, 8. Mikey MCGLINCHEY, 10.Thomas OAR, 11. Daniel DESILVA, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 15. Kye ROWLES, 16. Dylan FOX, 17.Samuel SILVERA, 18. Gianni STENSNESS, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Ruon TONGYIK, 26.Joshua NISBET, 27. Lewis MILLER, 29. Jair BRITTO, 30. Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 8. Mikey MCGLINCHEY (Promoted), 16. Dylan FOX (Promoted), 21. Ruon TONGYIK (Promoted), 29. Jair BRITTO (Return from Injury), 30. Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ (Promoted)
Outs: 9. Jordan MURRAY (Concussion)
Match Details |
Saturday, 14th December 2019
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
Kick-Off: 7:30pm (AEDT)
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Kearney Robinson
Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
Fourth Official: Tim Danaskos
VAR: Craig ZetterWatch: Fox Sports 505, Kayo Sports & MyFootball Live App
Listen: myfootballnation.com (SWR & Coast FM Gosford)