The title-holders will hope to regain some momentum with a home win over their visitors from Western Australia, who are also looking to get off the mark under Kenny Lowe
Life under interim head coach Kenny Lowe got off to a subdued start at nib Stadium after Perth played out a goalless stalemate with Adelaide United last Sunday. The Glory, three points adrift of Central Coast, fired blanks against Melbourne Victory the week before and they were off target again in front of their home fans. Perth did not emerge from their match against Adelaide unscathed, with Japanese winger Ryo Nagai suffering a hamstring injury. He joins Shane Smeltz, marquee defender William Gallas (calf) and Scott Jamieson (Achilles) on the sidelines.
The Mariners have built a reputation as one of the best defensive units in the competition since its inception. But the Gosford-based club have struggled in recent weeks, shipping six goals in just three games. Patrick Zwaanswijk (retired) and Pedj Bojic (Sydney FC) are no longer at the club but Phil Moss will be hoping for an improved performance from his back four.
Where are their goals going to come from for Perth? The Glory have scored just 10 goals in 11 games this season – only Melbourne Heart (nine) have netted fewer. With New Zealand international striker Smeltz struggling with injury, youngster Jamie MacLaren has had to shoulder most of the workload up front. The Young Socceroo has scored two goals in 11 appearances, with Sidnei and Nagai the only other multiple goalscorers.
Charismatic Argentinean midfielder Marcos Flores has gone off the boil in recent weeks after scoring three goals in the opening seven rounds. Despite his recent form, Flores remains the Mariner's leading goal scorer and is still capable of deciding a match on his own.
Central Coast's title defence has not been smooth sailing, with the reigning champions 11 points adrift of the league-leading Brisbane Roar. The Glory have experienced their own problems, both on and off the pitch, which resulted in the sacking of coach Alistair Edwards. The Mariners edged Perth in last season's New Years Eve fixture and expect them to do the same on Tuesday night.
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