Two teams at opposite sides of the Hyundai A-League table do battle on Friday night as Sydney FC welcome Central Coast Mariners to Jubilee Stadium.
An in-form Adam Le Fondre is the first challenge of 2019 for the Mariners, who will face a mountain to climb when they arrive at Kogarah.
Le Fondre’s brace guided Sydney FC to a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar last time out, and the Sky Blues striker will relish facing the lowly Mariners, who have conceded 20 goals so far this season.
But Mike Mulvey’s men gave a good account of themselves in their 2-1 defeat to the reigning Premiers earlier in the season and will be desperate to end their long wait for three points.
In saying that, they will have to regroup quickly following their 4-1 loss to Perth Glory at home on New Year's Eve.
The Mariners went into half-time 3-0 down and never really appeared in with a fighting chance as Glory ran rampant.
That result meant Central Coast finished 2018 with only one Hyundai A-League win to their name, coming on February 23 in a 1-0 victory against Wellington Phoenix.
With Sydney finding form and the Mariners looking for answers, Friday night is set to be a pivotal battle in both teams' campaigns.
Key Opta stats
- Sydney FC have lost just once in their last 13 Hyundai A-League meetings with the Central Coast Mariners (W10, D2), although they have kept just three clean sheets in that time.
- The Mariners are winless in their last 16 Hyundai A-League games (D2, L14) – this is their longest-ever run without tasting victory in the competition.
- No team has scored more goals from headers this season than Sydney FC (three), while no team has conceded more goals from headers this season than the Mariners (four).
Ins and Outs
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17. Anthony CACERES, 18.Jacob TRATT, 20.Alex CISAK (gk), 21.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 22.Siem DE JONG, 24.Cam DEVLIN, 25. Joel KING, 31.Luke IVANOVIC.
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 17. Anthony CACERES (new signing), 21.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY (promoted), 25. Joel KING (promoted).
Outs: 11.Daniel DE SILVA (unavailable due to loan agreement)
Unavailable: 3.Ben WARLAND (foot – 2 weeks), 5.Jop van der LINDEN (hamstring – 2 weeks), 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19.Chris ZUVELA (knee – indefinite), 23. Rhyan GRANT (International Duty - indefinite)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 4.Jake McGING, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES,18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 20.Kalifa CISSE, 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 25.Jordan MURRAY . **one to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS (return from injury), 6.Tom HIARIEJ (return from injury), 20.Kalifa CISSE (promoted)
Outs: 3.Jack CLISBY (not selected), 5.Antony GOLEC (not selected)
Unavailable: 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf), 44.Ross McCORMACK (knee)
How to watch
Tune in to Fox Sports 505 from 7:35PM (AEDT) or stream live on the MyFootball Live App. Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.
Be there for the Sky Blue show as your Westfield W-League stars do battle at Jubilee Stadium. Secure your tickets for the clash here!