Paul Okon: We don’t fear anyone


Hyundai A-League Round 3 will see the Central Coast Mariners cross the country to do battle with Perth Glory at nib Stadium, as they look to claim their first win of the campaign. Kick-off is 7pm (AEDT)

Last week, the Yellow and Navy put in a top performance against the Western Sydney Wanderers away from home, but walked away with a 2-2 draw after dominating a game that could have easily turned in their favour. An early goal from Asdrubal showcased our front third’s attacking talent, but it was Danny De Silva that truly shone. The young midfielder flaunted speed and creative play that culminated in a spectacular strike –  a possible contender for goal of the season in just round two.

Perth Glory scraped a 2-2 draw in the dying moments against the Newcastle Jets in Round 2, a brace from Adam Taggart enough to help the visitors take home a point from McDonald Jones stadium.

If the history books are anything to go by, the Mariners boast a proud line of form against Perth Glory over the years having won 20 of the 36 matches played between the two clubs. The Mariners were undefeated against the Glory last season (W2, D1). Both teams have taken a win and a draw over the previous two rounds, which makes for a mouth-watering battle between two sides who will be eager to earn their first win of the season.

The most recent clash between the Mariners and Perth Glory last season ended in resounding victory for the Central Coast. Fabio Ferreira and Josh Bingham scored within five minutes of each other, and Perth was sent home with no goals or points. 

Paolo in the press

“We dominated the ball last week, but we used a lot of energy, so early in the week we recovered, and then we focussed in on what we need to do to beat Perth,” Okon said. “It will be much of the same, we hope to dominate the game and be dangerous when we’ve got the ball.

“We were all excited about going down to Western Sydney and playing our football and being brave, and I thought we did that. We dominated the game for long periods, and that second goal was potentially a candidate for goal of the season. We know that that’s the sort of stuff we can dish up. We have another tough road trip this weekend, away at Perth. It will be Perth’s first home game of the season, so we’re under no illusions how difficult this Sunday’s game will be,” Okon said.

Okon made mention of the impressive performance from his defensive back four last weekend.

“It’s been like that all through pre-season, it’s not a big surprise the way they performed, we know they’re capable, and we never ask our players to do something that we don’t believe in. It will be no different this week. Our back four will be up against Taggart, who is scoring at the moment, Keogh, who is always a threat, and Castro the little magician, whenever he gets a bit of space on the ball, he can always hurt you.

“Two penalties in the first two games is probably not good enough, although they were soft penalties, we need to be a little more concentrated and a little more careful and aware that any challenges in that 18-yard-box, albeit soft, could potentially be penalties.

“I think we’ve still got room for improvement, having 11 new players in the squad will take a little bit of time. I think that last Saturday’s performance, if that’s a taste of what we’re capable of and we still think that we can improve, then exciting times ahead. We just need to make sure that we pick up points along the way, and once we believe that we are close to where we think we should be, then we expect to be winning more games,” Okon said.

Andrew Hoole will be unavailable this week due to suspension, after two yellow cards in the Wanderers game, but Okon is confident that his team will step up to compensate for his absence.

“It was a real disappointment to lose Hooley, because it’s round 3 and he will miss his second game, and he was brought to the club to be available every weekend. From that perspective that was probably one of the most disappointing parts of Saturday’s game, but as usual when someone gets injured or suspended it offers the opportunity to another player, and whoever that player is, we’re confident and hopeful that he will step up.

“We don’t fear anyone,” Okon said. “We know it’s a tough challenge, Perth are traditionally strong at home, but we go there with confidence. We’re playing good football, we’re dangerous, we’re scoring goals.

“They’ll be full of confidence, and they maybe see us as their first victory of the season, and the first three points of the season. It’s a great challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it,” Okon said.

Opta Stat-Attack

  • The Mariners have won each of the last two clashes between these clubs by a margin of 2-0
  •  There have been 13 goals scored in Perth Glory’s last two games at nib Stadium, with the men in purple posting eight of those goals.
  • Central Coast Mariners (1,090) are the only team after two rounds to have made more than 1,000 passes.
  • Diego Castro has created seven chances so far this season, the joint-most of any player in the competition alongside Leroy George.
  • Three of the top four passers in the competition wear a Mariners jersey this campaign; Alan Baró (167, 1st), Antony Golec (136, 3rd), and Wout Brama (134, 4th).
  • The Mariners have lost only one of their last five games away from home on a Sunday (W2, D2)
  • Perth have been on target with 61% of all shots at goal this season, the best of any team in the competition.

Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 8.Xavi TORRES, 9.Andy KEOGH (c), 11.Mitch MALLIA, 13 Nick FEELY (GK), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joseph MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Joe KNOWLES, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23.Scott NEVILLE, 26.Jacob ITALIANO, 29.Jeremy WALKER, 33.Liam REDDY (GK)
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Alex GRANT (returns from injury), 4.Shane LOWRY (returns from injury)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 3.Marc WARREN (ankle 9-12 weeks), 6.Mitch NICHOLS (suspended – 1 week), 25.Daniel STYNES (hamstring 9 weeks), 7.Joel CHIANESE (collar bone – 9 weeks), 18.Andreu GUERAO (hamstring – 1 week)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 9.ASDRUBAL, 10.Daniel De SILVA, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16. Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 23.Wout BRAMA, 24.Lachlan WALES
**Two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (promoted), 14.Adam BERRY (promoted), 4.Lachlan WALES (promoted)

Outs: 7.Andrew HOOLE (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable: 21.Kye ROWLES (knee – 1 week)

Match Details
Sunday, 22 October 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 3
Match: Perth Glory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 7:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA 501
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #PERvCCM & #CCMFC