Central Coast Mariners are looking to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions on Thursday evening, as they make the trip to Suncorp Stadium to take on Brisbane Roar in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
There are no new absentees for Mark Jackson who names an unchanged 20-man squad to the one that drew 3-3 with Melbourne City on Sunday.
As for Brisbane, John Aloisi welcomes back Jonas Markovski to the match day squad but is without Florin Berenguer, Scott Neville, Corey Brown, Henry Hore and Antonee Burke-Gilroy.
The reverse fixture just last month saw Roar head back up the East Coast with all three points on Matchday Four.
Berenguer and Thomas Waddington scored either side of an Alou Kuol equaliser in the first half, and the visitors held onto the win in a second 45 that saw both sides reduced to ten men.
Last time out
The Mariners played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Melbourne City in the highly anticipated Grand Final rematch at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Angel Torres stole the show with a second half hat-trick, while Josh Nisbet and Marco Tulio also starred.
Brisbane fell to a surprise defeat away to Western United, Roar led 1-0 until the 83rd minute but a late turnaround saw them leave Melbourne empty-handed as Western climbed off bottom spot in the Isuzu UTE A-League with a 2-1 win.
The Manager’s thoughts
Jackson says his side is confident ahead of the clash with Brisbane. He touched on the tactical tweaks he made against Melbourne and also outlined what he expects from Roar on Thursday, in his pre-match press conference this week.
“We are always confident with what we can do, we are on the back of a good run as well so we are confident we can go and execute what we need to do and hopefully the will bring us the three points.” He said.
With the Mariners 1-0 down at half time to City, the manager made the decision to put Harrison Steele on into midfield and push Nisbet into the number 10 role, a move which saw Nisbet have a key influence on the game in the second half.
“It worked well, Nizzy has done that role on numerous occasions within games, without it being so structured.”
“We always try to be adaptable in games, we change formations quite a bit. It was really successful in getting [Nisbet] into the areas we wanted him in, in the game. He had some chances to score as well which was really pleasing.”
“But as a team, collectively, that second half performance was really good. It was a contrast to the first half because I thought we needed to improve and we did. we were unlucky not to take the three points.”
The Mariners’ loss against Roar on November 12th left them without a point in the A-League after four matches, but things are looking a lot different now for Jackson’s side, after a run of six games without defeat in all competitions.
The unbeaten streak includes AFC Cup progression with a draw and a win against Terengganu and Stallion Laguna, respectively. Plus, A-League wins over Newcastle Jets and Western United and respectable draws against both Melbourne clubs.
On the upturn in form, Jackson said:
We are growing as a team all the time. Performances have been building, the team is getting stronger, their understanding is developing all the time and we know we know we have still got more in the locker as well.
“[The travel] is a challenge, it’s an opportunity for us and we have a squad here who are all ready to play and impact the game. Everybody is looking well, we will be ready for the game.”
On what has changed, Jackson says it is simply a matter of confidence on the pitch that has improved with results.
Even when results weren’t coming, we had an underlying confidence that we could achieve. But the confidence in the group with the results is changing and the understanding of how we are developing is getting stronger and stronger every game.
Here is what Jackson expects from Thursday’s opponents:
“I expect them to be really aggressive and on the front foot. We have a few ideas of how we are going to combat that.”
Like every game we analyse the opponents but we focus on ourselves and what we want to do and how we can impose our game on he opposition.
“Even though we are away from home we want to try and dominate the game. Hopefully we can do that against Brisbane.”
Our midfield maestro was also on media duty this week, as he reacted to his strong performance last time out and looked ahead to what he expects to be a ‘fiery’ encounter in Queensland.
You can read all of Nizzy’s pre-match thoughts here, on the Official Central Coast Mariners website.
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.
Thursday night football at Suncorp! 👊— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 20, 2023
📅 Thursday, December 21st
⏰ 7:45pm AEDT
🏟️ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
📺 Broadcast live on Paramount+
📻 Coast FM 963
#CCMFC #BRIvCCM #BeOurMate pic.twitter.com/0dSTDj3Ii4