Their A-League form could not be more contrasting, and it is the league-leading Mariners who desperately need a win to re-ignite their season going into finals
Risdon, V. den Brink, Mitchell, Heffernan
Dodd, Burns, Pantelidis, Andrezinho
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Wilkinson, Zwaanswijk, Rose
McGlinchley, Amini, Hutchinson, Rogic
Perth return home to nib Stadium after an all-important away victory over Adelaide United last Thursday. They outplayed Adelaide all match and deserved their 2-0 result. It moved Perth to outright forth on the table and handed them the advantage in the home finals race.
Perth have an upper hand over the Mariner, having had a nine-day break between games, giving them time to rest heading into the finals. Central Coast, conversely, had just a three-day break between Wednesday's AFC Champions League fixture in China and Sunday's league match in Perth, ensuring they are clocking up the air miles.
Perth’s home form has been outstanding in 2012, bar their home draw to Brisbane in January. With the Mariners' poor form and ACL commitments, more pressure could be heaped on the visitors to keep top spot. Helping the Glory's cause will be the return of star striker Shane Smeltz after injury, though influential midfielder Liam Miller's absence continues.
The Mariners needed a late equalising goal to save a point against Sydney FC last Saturday. Troy Hearfield scored the goal in the 91st minute to keep the side at the top of the table and three points clear of Brisbane. The Mariners' form has been poor, having not won in their last three games.
They will be bolstered again with a full squad to chose from, however, which will be needed after mid-week ACL commitments in China. Pedj Bojic will return after suspension, while Mustafa Amini is a chance to start after missing the Sydney FC match.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Perth's Shane Smeltz is one goal away from reaching 10 goals in a campaign for the third time in his A-League career.
- Central Coast's lead at the top of the table has gone from 10 points to three in as many weeks.
- Central Coast have not won in three games, and have tasted victory just once in six matches.
- Central Coast's leading scorer is Patrick Zwaanswijk with six goals, after Matt Simon departed for K-League outfit Chunnam Dragons during the transfer window.
- Perth have not beaten Central Coast this season, after losing their meetings fixtures 2-1 and 3-1 respectively.