Mariners coach Phil Moss insists Central Coast have what it takes to qualify for the A-League finals despite suffering their fifth defeat from the last six games on Friday.
The Mariners, having lost four in succession to see their playoff prospects plummet, earned themselves some breathing room by beating Sydney FC 2-1 last time out.
But their faltering title defence will come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of a 3-1 loss away to Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Nevertheless, Moss was defiant when asked about the champions' hopes of featuring in the post-season reckoning.
"We can certainly mount a challenge for the finals," he said.
"I've got absolute faith in the quality I've got in the dressing room ... to make that six. I've got no doubt we are one of those sides in the competition that once we get there, we can make some waves.
"We've just got to find consistency and make sure that our confidence levels are up."
Moss was reluctant to criticise referee Ben Williams for awarding a penalty against goal-scorer Zach Anderson for a handball inside the area, but registered his objections about the harsh nature of the law.
"These handballs in the box, is it ball to hand, hand to ball? The referee's going to have his interpretation, he's got the whistle in his hands," he said.
"I'm not going to complain about it. I don't like the rule. There's natural actions that come with movement of a player in a split second. When those natural actions cost you a goal from the penalty spot it's disappointing."
Moss expects Eddy Bosnar to be fit for the AFC Champions League game at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday, while Josh Rose and Nick Montgomery remain in doubt from a badly gashed forehead and calf problem respectively.comments