Preview: Wellington v Mariners

The Central Coast Mariners are bound for New Zealand to face the Wellington Phoenix. Upon the team’s departure, Head Coach Mike Mulvey spoke with media.

The fixture provides an exciting opportunity for Foxtel Y-League player Josh Nisbet who has been named in Mike Mulvey’s travelling squad. The 19-year-old won the Mariners’ Y-League player of the year award last year and has continued his impressive form this season under Ray Junna.

Westpac Stadium could also be the venue that Jonathan Aspropotamitis makes his Hyundai A-League debut for the Mariners. After rupturing his ACL with the Wanderers in February 2018, ‘Aspro’ has earned invaluable game time by appearing three times in the Foxtel Y-League. With the suspension of defender Kalifa Cisse, Aspro’s return couldn’t be timed better.

Wellington are on the verge of breaking a club record. A win or draw for the Phoenix would see them break the club’s all-time undefeated record of eight games. The record currently stands at seven (W4, D3). Our Mariners will be out to spoil their party.

Most recently, Wellington Phoenix scored late to defeat the Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday evening and will need to overcome a short turnaround.

Mulvey in the media

The trip to Wellington…
“Wellington’s always a difficult trip. They’re currently riding on the crest of a wave. I watched them against the Wanderers on Tuesday night, and they put in a good performance and came away with the win. We put in a very good first half performance against Sydney last week and after the send off we ended up coming away with a bad loss.

“If we played the way we played in the first half we are a good chance. We’re trying to get out of this hole right now, we need to go to Wellington with great spirit and great attitude and with a plan and that’s what we are going to do.

Aspropotamitis and Nisbet in the travelling squad…
Nisbet is young lad we’ve had our eye on in the youth team. He’s trained with the first team in the pre-season, he’s a young lad in the football world and we’re more than happy to take him along to gain this experience.

“It’s great to have ‘Aspro’ back, a good young player who’s had a torturous nine months from a knee injury. He’s really worked professionally to get himself back to full fitness. We’ve had him play three games for the youth team so he’s not exactly going to come in and save the world, that’s not what we want him to do, we just want to get him on the park. It’s a great opportunity for him to play with the first team and show what he’s all about and the reason why we bought him to the club.

Chemistry and belief within the squad…
“We’re all together. Any level of club that has got something about them has always got discussions between the captain and the coach. The lads are all in this together, we are all in this together and we are going to find a way out of this run. No one is happy with the situation right now, everybody is working towards the same goal and that is to try and get the best players on the park. If we’d had our best side all season we would have had better results, now we’re trying to bring new players to the club to help the players who are here, giving their all, every day of the week. That must be the goal for everybody at the club, staff and roster. It’s robust at times, we don’t always agree with each other but why should that be the case, we are hurting as much as the fans in terms of trying to get the performance on the park. For team morale, you only have to take a look at that performance in the first half to know that the players are playing for each other and for the club.

January movement…
“We are working hard behind the scenes, we have spoken to some players. I was just speaking to a player just now to see if he could come to us in the next few months to help us out for the end of the season. We’re actively trying to bring players in and I can quite honestly say if we bring players in, they can help the players that are already here.

We’re looking to try and make some deals in January to bring some fresh faces to help the players to get where we want to. None of us happy with the situation were in and we're all working diligently to get out of it,” Mulvey said.

Squad lists

Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN 8.Mitch NICHOLS, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR **two to be omitted**

Ins: 6.Dylan FOX (promoted), 9.Nathan BURNS (promoted), 17.Callan ELLIOT (promoted)
Outs: 14.Alex RUFER (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable: 4.Mandi Sosa (Suspension - 1 week)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Jake McGING, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), , 15.Kye ROWLES,18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 25.Jordan MURRAY, 26.Joshua NISBET **one to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS (return from injury), 3.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 26.Joshua NISBET (promoted)
Outs: 20.Kalifa CISSE (suspended – 1 week), 13.Aiden O’NEILL (suspended – 1 week),
Unavailable: 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf)

Opta Stat Attack

  • Wellington Phoenix have won four of their last seven games against the Central Coast Mariners (D1, L2), including a 2-0 meeting this season
  • Wellington Phoenix are undefeated in their last seven matches (W4, D3) – they have never gone eight games without loss in their A-League history
  • The Mariners have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 17 games.
  • Phoenix have conceded 191 fouls in the second half of games this season, fewer than any other team in the competition
  • Roy Krishna has a shooting accuracy of 67% this season, the best of any player to have landed more than five shots on target
  • Matt Simon has been directly involved in four of the Mariners’ last five goals scored (two goals, two assists).

Match Details
Saturday, 12 January 2019
Match: Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 5:35pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #WELvCCM & #CCMFC