Brisbane Roar need points and the Central Coast Mariners are targeting a return to form. It looms as another intriguing chapter to the rivalry
|By SHAM MAJID
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, Rose
Montgomery, Hutchinson, McGlinchey
Ibini, McBreen, Sterjovski
Hingert, Donachie, North, Stefanutto
Franjic, Lustica, Brattan, BroichNijland, Berisha
Defending champions Brisbane Roar will be aiming to improve their top six play-off hopes when they meet the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday.
Roar had to share the spoils with Melbourne Victory in a 1-1 draw last Saturday - a result that confined them to seventh spot.
Mike Mulvey's men are undefeated in four domestic matches, having collected two wins and two draws in the process.
However, scoring goals this season has been a problem for Roar all season and they have netted just 28 league goals in 24 matches.
The Mariners, meanwhile, have endured a torrid run of form recently. Graham Arnold's men have lost two-straight A-League matches, while they have only collected a single point from two games in their AFC Asian Champions League group stage matches.
The Mariners' last fixture took place in Japan on Wednesday, when they slumped to a 3-1 loss to Kashiwa Reysol despite taking the lead.
Their match against Reysol was the fifth they have played in just over two and half weeks, meaning Arnold may elect to once again shuffle his deck.
He employed a youthful-looking XI against Kashiwa, but the likes of Trent Sainsbury, Patrick Zwaanswijk and captain John Hutchinson have been heavily used over the Mariners' busy period and may need resting.
Nevertheless, the Mariners are settled in second place in the league standings and are still chasing table-toppers Western Sydney Wanderers for the Premiers' Plate.
Roar will be looking to right-back-turned-midfielder Ivan Franjic for inspiration, as they aim to surprise the hosts.
Franjic has enjoyed a new lease of life further upfield and netted for Roar in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory.
His combination play with Jack Hingert down the right flank has been lauded by Mulvey and the coach will be hoping for more of the same against the Mariners.
The Mariners have the upper hand over Roar in this season's encounters, having beaten them 2-1 in their first meeting before an entertaining 2-2 draw in February.
Roar midfielder Massimo Murdocca has recovered from injury and returns to the squad.