With three games remaining the Central Coast Mariners are confident that they can end the season on a run of good form and that starts on Sunday when they face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
The Mariners have hosted Brisbane twice this season where the Roar have edged them 1-0 and 2-1 but with both encounters coming down to the wire, Paul Okon’s side are keen to capitalise.
Brisbane’s win over Melbourne Victory last weekend has bolstered their hopes of locking in a top-four finish.
Roar now enjoys a four-point buffer over fifth-placed Perth heading into the final three games.
With two of those at Suncorp Stadium – starting with the visit of the Mariners – John Aloisi’s side will be desperate to earn a home final in the opening week of the finals.
Paolo in the press
“We want to finish off the season in the best possible way, so from that perspective nothing changes for us,” Okon said. “The Roar are a very good team and at Suncorp they’re difficult to beat but in saying that both of our games against them this season we felt like we were in it right until the end. It will be a tough ask but we will go and play the game on our terms and try and get a result.
“We want to get our sixth win of the season, that will double the number of wins from last season. Is that good enough? Absolutely not. We hoped for more but it is what it is and our energy is there to finish the season winning as many games as possible.
“The Roar play good football, we’ve matched up against them in that department. We’ve probably made some mistakes in those games that cost us goals and that’s been the story for a big part of our season. If we can eliminate that I can’t see a reason why we couldn’t go up there and compete and get the points.
“For us it’s business as usual. If the opportunity is there to give some experience to some younger players than I won’t hesitate to do that but the focus is on winning the game and the way people train will come into play when picking the team – that won’t be any different for the final three games,” Okon said.
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 15.ARANA, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk), 46.Cameron CRESTANI
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.ARANA (promoted), 46.Cameron CRESTANI (promoted)
Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (suspended – 1 match), 4.Daniel BOWLES (knee – season), 11.Tommy OAR (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 17.Matt MCKAY (knee – 4-6 weeks), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (ankle – 2 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX (c), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 26.Steve WHYTE, 27.Lachlan WALES
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 26.Steve WHYTE (promoted), 27.Lachlan WALES (promoted), 21.Michael NEILL (promoted)
Outs: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (suspended – 1 match)
Sunday 2 April 2017
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 – Round 25
Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners
Official hash-tags: #BRIvCCM #CCMFC
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM