Matchday preview: Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners

Phil Moss and his Central Coast Mariners must be wary of a backlash this weekend when they visit A-League leaders Perth Glory, who have the pain of defeat in the inaugural FFA Cup final still fresh in their minds.

FIXTURE DETAILS

Saturday, 20 December 2014

nib Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: 6:30 PM (Local) (9:30 PM AEDT)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O'NEILL, 4.Riley WOODCOCK, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK), 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 3.Brandon O'NEILL (promoted), 4.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 13.Diogo FERREIRA (promoted), 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK)

Outs: 19.Josh Risdon (suspended – 1 week), 17.Mitch Nichols (hamstring – 6-8 weeks), 30.Jordan THURTELL (GK) (not selected)

Unavailable: 7.Youssouf Hersi (hamstring – season)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Matt NASH (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 9.Mitchell DUKE, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 15.Matt SIM, 17.Richard VERNES, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matt SIMON, 21.Michael NEILL, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.KIM Seung-yong

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Storm ROUX (returns from illness), 9.Mitchell DUKE (promoted), 23.Isaka CERNAK (promoted), 25.Eddy BOSNAR (promoted)

Outs: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (calf – 1 week), 28.Josh BINGHAM (omitted)

Unavailable: 6.Brent GRIFFITHS (injury – indefinite)

Hashtag #PERvCCM

COVERAGE

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, ABC Local Radio Western Australia, 92.5 ABC Central Coast, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app  

OFFICIALS

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Mathew Cheeseman

Assistant Referee 2: Tim Mihevc

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

At first glance this round 11 fixture looks like an open and shut case, with competition front-runners Glory widely expected to have no trouble dispatching the Mariners at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

It's not quite as simple as that though, with the onus on Perth to prove that their 1-0 loss to Adelaide United in the FFA Cup final on Tuesday doesn't have the potential to disrupt their otherwise serene march to title contention in 2014-15.

Central Coast meanwhile may not be quite the away-day pushovers Glory fans will be hoping for. Moss had his players well-organised and dogged on the road at Wellington Phoenix last time out, the heroics of Liam Reddy and an opportunistic Matt Simon goal almost earning the Gosford outfit a surprise away win.

As it was they had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw and that's familiar feeling for the 2012-13 champions - they've drawn their last four away games in succession.

OPTA DATA STATS

- Perth have won six and lost none of their last seven matches.

- Glory have also found the net in each of these games, though never more than two in a match.

- Mariners are without a win in nine (D4 L5), last tasting victory on the opening game of the season.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Glory are the third highest scorers in the A-League this season but they looked decidedly toothless against the Reds on Tuesday. That may have more to do with Adelaide's possession-heavy approach and you can expect Perth to have far more of the ball and make plenty more of the running at home to one of the league's strugglers this weekend. As usual, Andy Keogh will lead this line, with Richard Garcia in support.

The creativity and penetrative passing of Mitch Nichols was missed at Coopers Stadium and Kenny Lowe's side will have to get used to life without the attacking midfielder for a while yet - he is out for at least six weeks with a hamstring tear.

For the Mariners, Matt Simon gave a master-class in physical centre-forward play in Auckland last weekend, roughing up the Phoenix backline, scoring and generally putting himself about against Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante.

He will be at it again up against Dino Djulbic and Michael Thwaite on Saturday night, but it's tough to see who else will contribute meaningfully in attack for the Mariners.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Off-field matters have been centre stage for Glory this week, with reports emerging of the club failing to properly declare agent fees, player accommodation and cars provided to players in previous seasons.

The club have insisted they have no case to answer, but it remains to be seen if the claims will have any impact on what has, until now, been an unusually harmonious campaign for the notoriously combustible club.

FORM LINES

Although they lost in the FFA Cup final, Glory are unbeaten in the last seven league matches, winning six of them. They have won the last two matches in succession, beating the Newcastle Jets 2-0 at home and Sydney FC 2-1 away.

The Mariners by contrast haven't won since the F3 Derby at home to the Jets in Round 1, drawing three and losing two of the previous five games.

DID YOU KNOW?

- Perth have averaged just 44 percent possession this season – only Western Sydney Wanderers have a lower total.

PREDICTION
Perth Glory 2-0 Central Coast

We expect Kenny Lowe and his players to harness their Cup final disappointment and channel that energy into producing an aggressive, positive performance this week. The Mariners have been better away from home lately, drawing their last four matches on the road. But that streak is under serious threat on Saturday. Do Central Coast have a strong enough defence to repel Keogh and co.? And who will be able to breach the Glory's resolute backline? A routine home win is our tip.