Paul Okon Previews Wanderers Clash

On Saturday night, we host the Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium and we caught up with Paul Okon ahead of the clash. Kick-off is 7:50pm.

With a big-name defender, midfielder and striker available for selection for Saturday’s match against the Western Sydney Wanderers there is a great vibe in the Mariners’ camp.

Spanish striker Asdrubal and Kiwi-International Storm Roux could make their returns to the Hyundai A-League this weekend. Tom Hiariej who was a late withdrawal last week, could also slot back into the lineup.

Competition for spots is extremely high with players stepping in to perform well in replacement of the injured Mariners. Specifically, in the right-back position that Jake McGing has made it his own over the past month.

Both sides will be eager to get back in the winner’s circle after disappointing results with the Mariners falling narrowly to Melbourne City and the Wanderers 5-0 derby demolition at the hands of Sydney FC.

Paolo in the Press

“Against Melbourne City we looked a little flat in the first half,” Okon said. “But in the second half we got into some areas where we probably should have done better. We had our moments, it wasn’t our best performance but Melbourne City are a good team and the effort was there.

“It’s never easy coming in after only having started once this season [Liam Rose] so we knew that he would find it tough but we are happy with how he went. He showed his qualities on the ball and for Liam it’s about finding that really high fitness level that’s needed to do the job in there. He should take a lot of confidence from that performance.

“They are three important players [Roux, Asdrubal & Hiariej] – they are players you want available for selection. Missing them gave the opportunity for other people who have done well. I have said it before, it presents a problem when you’re picking a team but we’re happy to have them back and hopefully they can all play their part.

“We knew that Jake McGing would be able to do a job at right full-back. He had it a bit tough at the start but he has done extremely well. Now that Storm is back it gives us that comfort that we have two players who can play in that position that is very important in our playing style.

“Asdrubal has been close to making a return over the past two weeks but he’s coming off 12 months of very little football so we need to be careful with how we manage him. He’s had two weeks of full training. He hasn’t missed a session and we’re confident that Asdrubal will get minutes against the Wanderers. He started off his career very well with the Mariners, he’s scored a couple of goals, the last game he played against Sydney, his link up play was superb so hopefully Asdrubal can get back to that level and stay there for the rest of the season.

“The results of opponents from previous weeks is insignificant. We know it’s going to be a tough game, the Wanderers have a great roster. You could pick two starting teams from their squad.

“But, we’re back at home. This week our focus has been more on what we can do better, where we need to improve then if we can do that, we feel that we’ve got enough to hurt the opposition,” Okon said.

Opta Stat-Attack

  • The Mariners are undefeated in their last two games against the Wanderers (W1, D1), after going winless in their five clashes prior (D1, L4).
  • The Wanderers come into this fixture on the back of three losses across which they’ve scored zero goals, the last and only time they lost more game in succession was a five-game drought in 2014.
  • Central Coast have conceded only two goals in the opening half-hour of games this season, the equal fewest of any team in the competition (alongside Western Sydney).
  • Andrew Hoole is set to make his 100th appearance in the A-League.
  • Wout Brama (615) and Kearyn Baccus (595) will go head-to-head this round and are the two busiest passers so far this season.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Blake POWELL, 9.ASDRUBAL, 10.Daniel De SILVA, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16. Liam ROSE, 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 23.Wout BRAMA

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Storm ROUX (return from injury), 9.ASDRUBAL (return from injury) 6.Tom HIARIEJ (return from injury)

Outs: 21.Kye ROWLES (not selected)

Unavailable: nil

Western Sydney Wanderers FC Squad: 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Josh RISDON, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 8.Roly BONEVACIA, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Álvaro CEJUDO, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Raúl LLORENTE, 25.Chris HERD, 30.John HALL (gk), 33.Michael THWAITE, 42.Keanu BACCUS
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 9.Oriol RIERA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 25.Chris HERD (all promoted)

Outs: 23.Lachlan SCOTT

Unavailable: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk) (shoulder)

Match Details
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 11
Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA 501 & ONE HD
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #CCMvWSW & #CCMFC