Okon Previews City vs. Mariners

For the second time in less than a month the Central Coast Mariners face a battle with Melbourne City for tonight’s dose of Thursday night football action.

Before departing for Melbourne, Mariners’ Head Coach Paul Okon spoke to local media at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Okon said. “We’ve already played them once this season on New Year’s and it was one of our best performances of the season. We were unlucky to have not won the game so irrespective of the loss last weekend we will go down to Melbourne with that performance against City in mind full of confidence that if we can perform anywhere near that level we have a chance of winning,” Okon.

In a ten-team competition consistency is key and Okon says that the focus is stringing together a run of positive performances that will see the Mariners climb the ladder.

“Consistency is key especially in the A-League with so few games but Melbourne Victory’s performance against Phoenix on Tuesday puts our loss into perspective,” Okon said. “I have my coach’s hat on so I see the game different to everyone else but there were moments in the game against Wellington where we were good, you can’t be perfect every week and we were very disappointed to lose that game.

“The fact that we weren’t able to score which we’ve done quite easily in our last two games against good oppositions was disappointing but we know we’ve got goals in us and we’re a real threat going forward but we also do realise that we need to get closer to keeping a clean sheet if we want to secure our third win of the season,” Okon said.

Despite City losing to Adelaide in Round 15, Okon said that it will not impact the side’s preparation and after a run of tough games he may look to ‘freshen up’ his team.

“We will look to freshen up against Melbourne City after a tough physical battle against Sydney FC and a long trip to Wellington with a relatively short turn around. It’s always given us good performances in the past so we’re quite confident that our squad can do the job, whoever goes out there.

“It’s foolish to look at City’s game last week against Adelaide and think too much of it because they are a quality side,” Okon said. “They won the FFA Cup, they’re the club with the most resources – so form isn’t going to come into play here in our thoughts.

“We’re up against a team that can still win the A-League and we will approach it in the way that it’s going to be a tough game and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” Okon said.

With three points at the front of his mind, Okon is confident that if the Mariners play the way he knows they can, the result will take care of itself – regardless of the opposition.  

“Our focus is on the performance,” Okon said. “When we’ve performed we’ve got the results whether it be one point or three points. A good performance will deliver that against any opposition.

“If we can perform for the whole 90 minutes and cut out those moments where we switch off and don’t concentrate then I don’t see a reason why we can’t get a positive result,” Okon said.

Opta key stats:

  • Melbourne City are undefeated in their last six games on home soil against teams from outside Victoria (W4, D2), only once conceding more than a single goal in a game.
  • Central Coast Mariners have won each of their last two games played on a Thursday, outscoring their opponents by a combined 5-1 across those games.
  • Jake McGing has made 695 passes in his own half this season, 134 more than any other player and one of only two to have made more than 500.

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 8.Neil KILKENNY (returns from suspension), 12.Nick FITZGERALD (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 17.Josh BINGHAM (promoted), 25.Ryan PETERSON (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – 1 week), 19.Jacques FATY (hamstring – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)

Match Details
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 – Round 16
Thursday 19 January 2017
Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
kick-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Official hash-tags: #MCYvCCM & #CCMFC
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM & 92.5 ABC Central Coast