Fresh off a 2-1 away win over Macarthur FC last Friday night, the Central Coast Mariners are looking to make it four consecutive wins in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s competition this Sunday against Wellington Phoenix.
Sitting three points clear in second place while three points and a game behind frontrunners Melbourne City, every point counts as we approach the midpoint of the season.
The Central Coast Mariners have made one change to their 20 man squad, with new signing Christian Theoharous making the trip to New Zealand.
The young versatile forward joined the club on Tuesday from Western United, having previously played for Melbourne Victory and in the Borussia Monchengladbach system.
Theoharous is another promising attacking option added to Montgomery’s arsenal, with the Mariners already leading the league in goals scored this season.
The youngster replaces Dor Jok in the squad, with the rest of the side remaining the same from our win over Macarthur.
Wellington Phoenix welcome back both Bozhidar Kraev and Nicholas Pennington into their 20 man squad.
The duo return after serving a one match suspension following their red cards against Sydney FC. Scott Wootton remains out for the side due to a calf injury.
The Mariners have been on a brilliant run of form lately, winning five of our last six matches including the most recent three.
These have included wins over fifth and sixth placed Macarthur and Adelaide United respectively as we currently sit three points ahead of Western Sydney in third.
Following a disrupted preparation for last weekend’s match the Mariners put on a strong display in the first 45 minutes, scoring twice while having numerous other chances.
The second half proved to be more of a challenge, as our ‘Won’t Back Down’ attitude and determination was on full display to secure the three points.
After winning only one of their first six games before the World Cup break, Wellington have been a team rejuvenated over the last month.
Determined and spirited wins over the likes of Sydney FC have seen them lose one of their past six matches, a 3-1 defeat to Melbourne City.
These results against front runners in the competition including Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers have pushed them up into fourth place on the ladder, sitting on 17 points, five below the Mariners.
Since playing our first game against each other in 2007, matches between the Mariners and Wellington have been extremely even, with both sides winning the fixture on 18 occasions.
When breaking it down further to statistics per stadium, matches at Sky Stadium have also traditionally gone either way. Of the 20 fixtures at the ground Wellington have won eight, the Mariners seven on top of five draws.
The Mariners are currently on a three-game undefeated streak against the Phoenix, including 4-0 and 5-0 wins.
The Central Coast almost made it three wins in a row in round two of this season, with us leading 2-1 in the 87th minute.
A late own goal denied the Mariners the three points that afternoon, with the side keen to return back to the Coast with the victory this time around.
Wellington Phoenix squad
3. Finn SURMAN, 5. Steven UGARKOVIC, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 14. Alex RUFER, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 19. Sam SUTTON, 20. Oli SAIL (gk), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM, 31. Yan SASSE, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk).
IN: 11. Bozhidar KRAEV (returning from suspension), 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON (returning from suspension).
OUT: 4. Scott WOOTTON (injured).
Unavailable: 4. Scott WOOTTON (injured).
Central Coast Mariners squad
2. Thomas AQUILINA, 3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Joshua NISBET, 6. Maximilien BALARD, 7. Samuel SILVERA, 9. Jason CUMMINGS, 11. Beni NKOLOLO, 13. Harrison STEELE, 15. Storm ROUX, 18. Jacob FARRELL, 20. Daniel VUKOVIC (c) (gk), 21. Michael RUHS, 22. Cameron Windust 23. Daniel HALL, 24. Yaren SOZER (gk), 25. Nectarios TRIANTIS, 27. Sasha KUZEVSKI, 31. Christian THEOHAROUS, 90. Paul AYONGO, 98. MARCO TULIO
Ins: 31. Christian Theoharous
Outs: 29. Dor Jok
Unavailable: 10. Matheus MORESCHE (injured), 26. Bradley TAPP (injured)
Wellington Phoenix vs Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, January 22nd
Kick-off: 1:00pm AEDT
Sky Stadium, Wellington
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+