Preview: Sydney FC v Mariners

As there always is between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners, Sunday tosses up a raft of subplots. The headline act? Two former Premier League teammates in Jem Karacan & Adam Le Fondre going head to head at Leichhardt Oval.

The pair experienced some incredible highs in the English Premier League together with Reading, as well as linking up for success at Bolton. But on Sunday afternoon, allegiances will be put aside as Karacan will be tasked with something he never thought he want to see, a goalless ‘Fox in the box’.

Beyond the obvious A-League former team returnees in your Simons, Wilkinsons and Caceres to name just a few, two former teammates from Apoel FC (Cyprus) in Tommy Oar and Reza Ghoochannejhad could also go head-to-head with the latter debuting for Sydney FC last week against Brisbane.

Mike Mulvey’s Mariners are eager to take on the Sky Blues after their last drama-filled encounter at Jubilee Oval. With the Mariners on top of Sydney FC in the first half, the Yellow & Navy were brought to their knees when Kalifa Cisse was sent from the pitch before the 30-minute mark. Alex Brosque went on to bag a hat trick.

In squad news, Matt Simon & Jacob Melling come back into contention for the Mariners after our skipper suffered from back tightness which kept him out against the Wanderers – whilst Melling served a one game suspension.

Sydney FC are expected to remain largely unchanged after last weeks lost to Brisbane Roar.

What’s been said?
Jem Karacan, Mariners Midfielder and former teammate of Adam Le Fondre

“It’ll be good to play against him [Le Fondre], but he knows that as soon as we step over the line I’ll be trying to make sure I stick one on him,” Karacan said.

“We have had some fantastic memories together and hopefully another memory will be me beating him on the weekend.”

Mulvey in the media

Where to from here…
“There’s nine games left. We’ve had plenty of opportuntiies in the last month and a half where we’ve been in strong positions, from strong performances. Last week was a bit of a step back in terms of our performance and consequently we came away with a loss but we’ve regrouped and we’re ready for a big game against Sydney

Our last game against Sydney…
“If you look at our game against Sydney FC last time – in the first 25 minutes we were very good. Then we had a man sent off and we contained them until half time before they ran away with it. We’re hoping to replicate that first 25 minutes, but for 90 minutes. We know we need to put in a good performance because they are a good team.

The relationship between Jem Karacan & Adam Le Fondre
“They were promoted from the Championship to the Premier League together, they’ve had plenty of great memories at Reading & Bolton together and are great professionals. There’s a private battle going on there but it’s more about how we approach this game. As I say, if we do what we did last time and do it for longer, we are every chance,” Mulvey said.

The game plan…
“In the past month and a half we’ve jumped on the front foot in games, we’ve been at teams and pressed very high. That’s us and that’s the way we want to play. Last week, we stepped away from that in the way we set up and that’s not us, so this week we will return to what we know.

The return of Matt Simon…
“He’s back. He’s had a good week on the training track and Dave McGinness our physio does a fantastic job. He looks after all the players and gets them back on the pitch as soon as possible – all power to Dave, he’s got Matty back and he’s all good until Sunday,” Mulvey said.

Squad lists

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER, 3.Ben WARLAND, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16. Reza GHOOCHANNEJHAD, 17.Anthony CACERES, 20.Alex CISAK (gk), 21. Mitch AUSTIN, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24. Cam DEVLIN, 31.Luke IVANOVIC.
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 8.Paulo RETRE (promoted), 24. Cam DEVLIN (promoted), 31.Luke IVANOVIC (promoted).

Outs: 11.Daniel DE SILVA (Ineligible due to loan agreement)

Unavailable: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 22.Siem DE JONG (knee – 1 week), 19. Chris ZUVELA (knee – indefinite).

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 25.Jordan MURRAY, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 68.Jem KARACAN
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 22.Jacob MELLING (return from suspension), 19.Matt SIMON (return from injury), 23.Mario SHABOW (return from injury)

Outs: 15.Kye ROWLES (suspended – 1 week – accumulation of yellow cards)

Unavailable: 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf) & 4.Jake McGING (hamstring)

Opta Stat Attack

  • The Mariners have led at half time in three of their last five games away from home
  • The Mariners have scored 72% of their goals in the first half this season, the highest percentage of any team in the competition
  • Sydney FC have lost just one of their last 14 encounters against the Mariners
  • Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven home games against the Mariners
  • Sydney FC have won their last six A-League fixtures in Sydney, this is their first at Leichhardt Oval
  • Matt Simon has scored four goals this season, the joint most of any Mariner this season.
  • Brosque has scored 14 goals against the Mariners, his second most against any team.

Match Details
Sunday, 17 February 2019
Match:
Sydney FC vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #SYDvCCM & #CCMFC