The Central Coast Mariners & Western Sydney Wanderers are both full of confidence after convincing wins which makes for a crucial clash this Sunday in the race for finals football.
After downing Adelaide United and securing back-to-back wins for the first time as Mariners’ Head Coach, Okon is hungry for a hat-trick of wins that would see his team move to just two points out of the top six.
Sydney’s West is set for a scorching few days of hot temperatures which adds to the challenge of facing the Wanderers at Spotless Stadium.
In Round Four the Mariners travelled to Spotless Stadium for the first time in an end-to-end match that saw them fight from a goal down to draw 1-1 thanks to Adam Berry's maiden Hyundai A-League goal.
The Wanderers go into this Round 19 clash desperately chasing their first three points of the season at their temporary home at Olympic Park.
Paolo in the press
“Wanderers are a very good opponent and they had a very good win away to Wellington so they will come into this game with a little bit of confidence,” Okon said.
“We’ve had two good performances that finally we were rewarded for and six important points which brings us a little bit closer to the pack, without looking too far ahead and we know that Sunday is another opportunity for three points so we will travel into the heart of the west hoping to get three points.
“Our approached this season so far has been game by game, we’re not getting too excited – it is two wins that’s all it is. There’s nine games to go and plenty of points, we want to keep the unbeaten run going. Everyone speaks about momentum in the A-League sees you climb the ladder but on Sunday we’re up against a very good opponent so we’re going to have to be good with the ball, without the ball we need to stay concentrated for the full duration and hopefully that can see us bring something back to the Coast.
“The Wanderers’ front four are very good, they have Brendan Santalab who’s always good for a goal, Mitch Nichols will come back into the fold, Terry Antonis was fantastic last week and they have Matinez who I regard as one of the best attacking midfielders in the competition.
“At the moment we have no injury concerns from last week which is great at this time of year. Usually at the back end of the season teams start to get niggles and suspensions, we don’t have any of that which is a tribute to the medical staff and everyone for the work they're putting in.
“Every coach will tell you that when it’s time to select a team that when everyone’s available it’s a pleasant headache to have.
“We’re in a good space, we’re working as a team and we’re running as a unit and we have to keep it as simple as that. There’s no secret formua, at this level if you can have the attacking threats that we have and you can use the ball and work hard when you don’t have it you’re going to be difficult to beat.
“Focus is still on performance because whenever we’ve had those good performances most times we’ve got points. Every game we’ve gone into this season wanting to win and from here until the end that will be the same attitude. If you don’t have that diehard spirit to get three points then I guess it’s irrelevant how you perform.
“If I look back to where we were at the start and where we are now, we’ve made significant improvement, we do believe that we should be higher up the table and we should have more points but none the less we are in a good situation.
“We’ve got a tough game away to the Wanderers, then a home game against Melbourne Victory followed by a derby against Newcastle so there are plenty of games there to be motivated with plenty to play for so hopefully in a few weeks we’re still in contention to make the six,’ Okon said.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Mitch NICHOLS (promoted), 12.Scott NEVILLE (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: Jacob MELLING (back – indefinite)
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 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), 22.Jake McGING
***Two to be omitted***
Ins: 21.Michael NEILL (promoted) 6.Blake POWELL (return from injury)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle injury – indefinite), 19.Jacques FATY (hamstring – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 – Round 19
Sunday 12 February 2017
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
Official hash-tags: #WSWvCCM & #CCMFC
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM & 92.5 ABC Central Coast