The Mariners claimed a win last time the two sides met in Wellington, and the hosts face another stern test from the competition leaders on Saturday
Bertos, Durante, Sigmund, Lochhead
Lia, Muscat, Sanchez, FentonHuysegems, Brockie
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, Rose
McGlinchey, Montgomery, Hutchinson
Ibini, McBreen, Rogic
The Mariners emerged 1-0 victors from their trip across the Tasman in Week 6 of the A-League - a result which condemned the Phoenix to a third successive defeat.
And Wellington head into Saturday's clash facing a similar situation after a difficult fortnight.
A three-match winning run came to an end against Sydney FC two weeks ago and that was followed by a loss to high-flying Adelaide United last weekend.
Those two defeats have left the Phoenix with the possibility of ending the weekend at the foot of the A-League table if results go against them.
Ricki Herbert's side needs to address their recent results against the Mariners. In six previous encounters, with four of those on home soil, the Phoenix have failed to pick up a single point.
That period of games has also seen the Wellington outfit find the net just twice, while shipping 11 goals at the other end. Added to this, the Phoenix will have to turn things around without key striker Paul Ifill, who is out for at least a month following ankle surgery. They do, however, welcome back leading scorer Jeremy Brockie, who missed the defeat to Adelaide United last Sunday through injury.
Central Coast, on the other hand, continue to set the pace and could extend their lead at the summit to as much as four points.
Coach Graham Arnold has his team playing great football, which has resulted in an eight-game unbeaten run, with their last loss coming against the Newcastle Jets in the F3 Derby on October 20.
How long can the Mariners juggernaut roll on? With 22 points out of a possible 24 from their past eight matches, the team is on track for a second-successive minor premiership.
But Arnold has already laid down the gauntlet for his playing group, challenging them to find a new level ahead of another finals campaign.
Expect few changes to the Mariners' squad for the trip, though former Australia international Mile Sterjovski is again available after recovering from injury.