A-League preview: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Heart
The hosts could have the Premiers' Plate in their sights if results work in their favour, while Heart are preparing to farewell their 2012-13 A-League season
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, RoseMontgomery, Hutchinson, McGlinchey,
Sterjovski, McBreen, Ibini
Walker, Gerhardt, Colosimo, Mitchinson
Meeuwis, Garcia, Thompson
Williams, Tadic, Mebrahtu
Two teams with vastly contrasting targets will meet this Saturday as the Central Coast Mariners host Melbourne Heart at Bluetongue Stadium.
The second-placed Mariners are trailing Western Sydney Wanderers by three points and still harbour hopes of winning the Premiers' Plate.
Victory against Heart, coupled with a Wanderers defeat to the Newcastle Jets on Friday, would see the Mariners propel to the top of the league standings.
Heart on the other hand, will be praying that Wellington Phoenix stumble to defeat at home to Melbourne Victory.
Otherwise, Heart will have to win the Mariners to avoid slumping to the foot of the standings.
John Aloisi's side have no chance of making the play-offs following their 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar last Sunday.
However, the future of several Heart players will be on the line as they fight to remain in the coach's first-team plans next season.
Final-round displays could sway Aloisi's decision in handing out extensions to out-of-contract players ahead of next campaign.
Cameron Edwards, Fred, Jonatan Germano and Mate Dugandzic will play no part in Heart's final fixture due to injury.
But Simon Colosimo and Patrick Gerhardt will return from suspension and international duty respectively, and Aloisi may decide to give a final game to veteran goalkeeper Clint Bolton if, as expected, he is destined for retirement.
Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan is available for the Mariners after returning back from international duty with Australia, but Adam Kwasnik remains the only long-term absentee for Arnold's side.
Mariners' attacking midfielder Michael McGlinchey also returns from international duty, with New Zealand, and will be looking to maintain his outstanding form against a demoralized Heart outfit.
McGlinchey has registered six goals from midfield but he has also created more goal-scoring chances than any other player this season.
But Arnold has signalled a reluctance to restore his line-up to its strongest if the Wanderers secure the Premiers' Plate with a win against Newcastle, citing the finals campaign and their AFC Champions League duties.
As well as McGlinchey, Heart's defence will also have to deal with the guile and finishing prowess of Mariners' forward Daniel McBreen.
The veteran attacker scored the opener against Adelaide United last Sunday and is leading the goalscoring charts with 16 goals.
Pedj Bojic grabbed a brace as the Mariners earned a comprehensive 2-0 win over Heart in their last meeting in Week 11.
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Top 3 Predictions
Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Melbourne Heart
- 62.5 %
Central Coast Mariners 2-1 Melbourne Heart
- 12.5 %
Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Heart
- 12.5 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||05/01/2014||Central Coast Mariners 0 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||19/10/2013||Melbourne Heart 2 - Central Coast Mariners 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||30/03/2013||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Melbourne Heart 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||14/12/2012||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||28/10/2012||Melbourne Heart 0 - Central Coast Mariners 1|
|Central Coast Mariners|
|07/03/2014||Melbourne Victory 3 - Central Coast Mariners 1||AUS1|
|01/03/2014||Central Coast Mariners 2 - Sydney FC 1||AUS1|
|25/02/2014||FC Seoul 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||ACL|
|21/02/2014||Central Coast Mariners 1 - Wellington Phoenix 4||AUS1|
|14/02/2014||Adelaide United 2 - Central Coast Mariners 0||AUS1|
|6||Patrick Nyema Gerhardt||Defender|