The Central Coast Mariners are back in action on Friday night for the final time this regular season, travelling to face Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
Off the back of a brilliant 3-1 win over Newcastle Jets last weekend, the side head down to Adelaide full of confidence that they can get the job done.
Second place on the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s competition is well and truly up for grabs, with a win against Adelaide going a long way to securing the position.
Western Sydney’s match against Melbourne City will also play a factor, with the Mariners needing to win by more than the Wanderers do to secure the spot.
The Central Coast Mariners have named an unchanged line-up from last weekend, with the same 20-man squad travelling to Adelaide.
The squad includes two players aged under 18, with Miguel Di Pizio and Anthony Pavlesic both making the trip. Di Pizio received his first minutes in the A-League last weekend, coming off the bench against the Newcastle Jets.
Adelaide have named a largely similar squad to the side that drew with Perth last Sunday night, with two additions.
Striker Hiroshi Ibusuki and defender Lachlan Barr have both been added to Adelaide’s squad and are a chance to play on Friday night.
United have five players still out with injury, with Harry Van Der Saag, Zach Clough, Jay Barnett, Josh Cavallo and Juande all still sidelined.
The Central Coast Mariners have been on a sensational run of form since the international break, securing 10 of a possible 12 points in four matches.
This undefeated streak began with a dominant 4-1 win over Brisbane at home, before securing an important 3-0 win over Western United.
A 1-all draw in what was one of the games of the season in front of 10,000 Mariners fans against Melbourne City certainly proved the Central Coast’s championship credentials.
These were only reaffirmed with a professional 3-1 victory last Saturday night against Newcastle, falling 1-0 down before scoring three unanswered goals.
The Mariners currently sit in third place, with a win against United likely to be enough to secure second place to conclude the season.
Since returning from the week break Adelaide have been a little inconsistent, picking up just one victory in four matches. That result did come against Western Sydney in Parramatta, before a 1-all draw against Sydney FC at home.
A tough 1-0 loss was the sides first in some time, before a stoppage time Nestory Irankunda goal secured them a point away from home against Perth.
These results see Adelaide sit only one point above the Mariners, currently in second place on 42 competition points.
Battles between the Mariners and Adelaide have always been close encounters, with the statistics proving exactly that over the years.
Across 53 A-League matches between the two sides Adelaide have scored just one extra goal, coming out on top in 24 matches. Central Coast have been victorious in 22, alongside seven draws.
The two sides faced off earlier this season, taking to Industree Group Stadium on January 7th. The Mariners were able to come out convincing winners that day, recording a dominant 4-0 win.
A first half own goal from Alexander Popovic gave the Central Coast a 1-0 lead at the break, before a red card to Isaias mere seconds into the second half brought the away side down to 10.
Goals to Beni Nkololo, Jacob Farrell and an own goal from Panache Madanha secured the result, with the Mariners looking for something similar on Friday night.
1.James DELIANOV (gk), 3.Ben WARLAND, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Louis D’ARRIGO, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Hiroshi IBUSUKI, 11.Craig GOODWIN (c), 13.Lachlan BARR, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 21.Javi LÓPEZ, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 31.BERNARDO, 35.Luka JOVANOVIĆ, 36.Panashe MADANHA, 37.Jonny YULL, 41.Alexandar POPOVIĆ, 46.Joe GAUCI (gk), 55.Ethan ALAGICH, 66.Nestory IRANKUNDA
Ins: 9.Hiroshi IBUSUKI, 13.Lachlan BARR
Unavailable: 2.Harry VAN DER SAAG (knee), 10.Zach CLOUGH (calf), 18.Jay BARNETT (hamstring), 27.Josh CAVALLO (Achilles), 28.JUANDE (leg)
Central Coast Mariners
3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Joshua NISBET, 5. James MCGARRY, 6. Maximilien BALARD, 7. Samuel SILVERA, 9. Jason CUMMINGS, 10. Matheus MORESCHE, 11. Beni NKOLOLO, 13. Harry STEELE, 14. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 15. Storm ROUX, 18. Jacob FARRELL, 20. Danny VUKOVIC, 23. Daniel HALL, 25. Nectarios TRIANTIS, 28. James BAYLISS, 31. Christian THEOHAROUS, 39. Miguel DI PIZIO, 40. Anthony PAVLESIC, 98. Marco TULIO
Unavailable: Bradley TAPP (injury)
Adelaide United vs Central Coast Mariners
Friday, April 28th
Kick-off: 7:45pm AEST
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+