The Central Coast Mariners return to action on Sunday afternoon, facing 11th placed Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The contest is the first of five away games in a row for Alen Stajcic’s team, who do not return to Central Coast Stadium until an #F3Derby meeting with the Jets on the 1st May.
For the Victory, they were humbled by Melbourne City in the Melbourne Derby just two weeks ago, a result that prompted the sacking of Grant Brebner and Steve Kean’s appointment as interim manager, and there were signs of immediate bounce back in a 5-4 win over Wanderers.
They fell to Sydney FC in the Big Blue mid-week though, and will be looking for a result here to distance themselves from Newcastle.
Even with a tough run of results, the Mariners remain right in the conversation at the upper end of the table and a win here would keep Stajcic’s side well and truly in that conversation.
Despite Victory’s position on the table Stajcic insisted there are no simple outcomes in the A-League, and it would be remiss of his side to brush off Victory’s threat.
“There’s no easy game in the A-League, it doesn’t matter whether it’s home or away, a team at the bottom of the ladder or a team near the top,” he said.
“The ladder is so tight, the competition is so tight that anyone can beat anyone on any given day, and to take anyone lightly or to think you can’t win on a day is false.”
“Victory obviously have a lot to play for with Popovic coming in next season, they’re playing for contracts and the like, and sometimes that hunger is the biggest motivation you can have.”
Stajcic will be without Marco Urena following his red card against Brisbane, but Alou Kuol was named in the extended squad for a possible return to the fold from illness, but Stajcic kept his cards close to his chest about who would replace the Costa Rica.
“We had Alou out the other night, he had a viral infection so he’s back healthy again and we’ve obviously got other options on the bench,” Stajcic said of replacing Urena.
“Dan Bouman has played up front, Jordan Smylie has played a bit up front, so we’ve got other options up our sleeve and we’ll just wait go get through training and see what option we go with.”
After taking on Victory, the Mariners will have a 10-day break before facing Brisbane away from home on Wednesday, 12th May.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Callum McMANAMAN, 8.Jacob BUTTERFIELD, 9.Rudy GESTEDE, 10.Robbie KRUSE, 11.Ben FOLAMI, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Jay BARNETT, 15 Aaron ANDERSON, 16.Brandon LAUTON, 17.Elvis KAMSOBA, 19.Dylan RYAN, 20.Max CROCOMBE (gk), 22.Jacob BRIMMER, 25.Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO, 26.Lleyton BROOKS, 35.Zaydan BELLO
**2-4 to be omitted**
In: 7.Callum McMANAMAN (return from suspension), 10.Robbie KRUSE (return from suspension), 22.Jacob BRIMMER (return from suspension)
Out: 29.Nishan VELUPILLAY (not selected)
Unavailable: 3.Adama TRAORE (suspended), 5.Ryan SHOTTON (injured - knee), 23.Marco ROJAS (injured - ankle)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 3.Lewis MILLER, 4.Joshua NISBET, 5.Stefan NIGRO, 6.Gianni STENSNESS, 7.Stefan JANKOVIC, 8.Oliver BOZANIC (c), 10.Daniel DESILVA, 11.Jack CLISBY, 14.Daniel BOUMAN, 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Adam PEARCE (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michal JANOTA, 23.Dan HALL, 25.Matthew HATCH, 26.Jaden CASELLA, 29.Alou KUOL, 30.Jordan SMYLIE
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 22.Michal JANOTA (Return from Injury), 25.Matthew HATCH (Promoted), 29.Alou KUOL (Return from illness)
Outs: 12.Marco UREÑA (Suspended)
Game Details |
Sunday, 2 May 2021
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 4:05pm (Local)(4:05pm (AEST))
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Scott Edeling
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Ilievski
Fourth Official: Adam Bavcar
VAR: Shaun Evans
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4:00pm (AEST), Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au ) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Radio Broadcast: COAST FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MVCvCCM