A-League preview: Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets

With their A-League finals place still far from assured, the Jets will hope the absences of Tom Rogic and Bernie Ibini can be exploited on Saturday
GOAL.com Indonesia   By GOAL.COM



Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, Rose
McGlinchley, Montgomery, Hutchinson
Sterjovski, McBreen, Kwasnik


Gallaway, Regan, Chapman, Goodwin
Zadkovich, Wheelhouse, Brown
Virgili, Heskey, Griffiths

The Mariners enter the third F3 derby of the season again without star midfielder Tom Rogic, with his move to Scottish Premier League side Celtic imminent.

Bernie Ibini is away on trial with Belgian side Club Brugge and will also be unavailable, leaving the Mariners somewhat sparse in attack.

The Jets were good value for their 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar last Saturday and will take confidence into the derby knowing they can solidify their spot in the top six.

Ruben Zadkovich pulled the strings for Newcastle with plenty of drive from midfield and his energetic presence should guide the visitors against an experienced Mariners side.

However, Central Coast's settled back four is hard to pierce and has been breached four times at home this season.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold will have to choose between three central defenders for the match, with Trent Sainsbury returning from suspension and Patrick Zwaanswijk and Zac Anderson starting in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory.

Arnold himself will be in the outer after receiving a touchline ban for his derogatory comments towards the referees in the Mariners' 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory in Launceston.

Newcastle are one of only two sides to defeat Graham Arnold's side this season [along with Sydney FC], and will back themselves to do the same on Saturday.

Captain Jobe Wheelhouse should return to the starting XI after making his comeback from the bench in last Saturday's 1-0 win over the Brisbane Roar.

Marquee man Emile Heskey is also likely to return after missing the Roar match through a hip complaint, with rookie Andrew Hoole and Josh Brillante likely to drop out.

The Mariners are undefeated in six home games this season and will be tough to beat at Bluetongue again.

A slight drop in form has plagued the league leaders of late, but two wins, two draws and a loss in five games is far from poor in anyone's language - particularly given four of those games have been on the road.

Rogic looks set for Scotland, leaving the Mariners' title push in the capable hands of a mature and hardened squad.

The Jets will come out firing as they always do in the derby, but the Mariners will believe they still have enough on home turf.

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