Central Coast Mariners are looking to make it six games unbeaten in all competitions on Sunday, as they make the trip to Melbourne City in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
A win for the Mariners could see them leapfrog their opponents in the table. City currently sit seventh with 10 points from seven games, having won their last two.
Mariners also come into the game after an upturn in form, wins against Newcastle Jets and Western United either side of a draw with Melbourne Victory, have seen us climb the table in recent weeks.
Both sides were in midweek AFC action, with the Mariners facing a long flight back from the Phillipines and just a one-night stopover back on the Coast before jetting off again to Melbourne.
Mark Jackson insists the travel will not be an excuse, approaching it more as a ‘challenge’ and an ‘opportunity’. He urged his players to remember the privilege on a career in professional football, describing it as ‘the best job in the world’, in his pre-match press conference on Saturday.
The manager also touched on the individual form of Marco Tulio and Dan Hall, challenging the Brazilian to take his outstanding AFC Cup goalscoring form into the A-League and praising the emerging leadership qualities of our young centre back.
Last time out
Last time out in the Isuzu UTE A-League, the Mariners recorded their biggest win of the season so far with arguably their most impressive performance under Jackson, thrashing Western United 4-0 at Our Paradise.
Hall, Brian Kaltak and Tulio put us 3-0 up before the break, and Alou Kuol kept us his recent scoring form, adding a fourth for the Mariners in the second half.
Since then, the squad faced a challenging trip to the Philippines, where a professional performance secured our safe passage through to the AFC Cup knockout stages, winning 3-0 against Stallion Laguna thanks to a Tulio brace and a goal for Christian Theoharous.
Melbourne City have also been in AFC action this week, they hosted Zhejiang on Tuesday evening and a late equaliser from the Chinese side saw City’s hopes of qualification dashed.
City were left hoping that they would qualify as one of the best placed second-placed teams in the region, but Jeonbuk Motors’ 3-2 win over Bangkok United in Group F on Wednesday confirmed City’s exit from the competition at the group stage.
Last time out in the A-League, City defeated Perth Glory away from home thanks to a penalty from Tolgay Arslan and a Matthew Leckie header.
Jackson confirmed that the squad made it through the challenging trip to the Phillipines unscathed, leaving only the long-term absentees unavailable for this trip to Melbourne.
City on the other hand were not so lucky, as they lost forward Leckie to a hamstring injury this week that will see him miss the next 4-6 weeks.
Aurelio Vidmar also confirmed that talisman Jamie Maclaren is carrying a ligament issue in his ankle, but remains available for Sunday’s clash with Mariners.
It would be impossible to mention a fixture against Melbourne City without bringing up that special night back in June…
Let's wind the clock back a little to the night we became the 2022/23 Isuzu UTE A-League Champions! 🏆🕰— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 16, 2023
It's Grand Final rematch time tomorrow, kicking off at 5pm! 👊#CCMFC #BeOurMate pic.twitter.com/rHNFnYq3PP
How to watch
The game will be broadcasted live on Paramount+. However, if you are unable to watch, you can keep up to date with live updates across Official Central Coast Mariners social media channels.
Ready to face City! 👊— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 16, 2023
📅 Sunday, December 17th
⏰ 5pm AEDT
🏟️ AAMI Park, Melbourne
📺 Broadcast live on Paramount+ and 10Bold
#CCMFC #MCYvCCM #BeOurMate pic.twitter.com/dIXie5YvVK