Sydney FC up for pivotal Mariners clash

After their mid-week 3-1 win against Wellington, Sydney FC are primed to continue their push towards the Hyundai A-League top-six this weekend as they hit the F3 to take on the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night (7pm kick-off) full of confidence.

After their mid-week 3-1 win against Wellington, Sydney FC are primed to continue their push towards the Hyundai A-League top-six this weekend as they hit the F3 to take on the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night (7pm kick-off) full of confidence.

The Sky Blues head into the match on the rise with just one defeat in their last seven outings and will be boosted by the return of left back Sung-Hwan Byun and the possible inclusion of equal leading goalscorer Bruno Cazarine from a back injury.

Although riding a wave of confidence coach Vitezslav Lavicka said it was important to give his players rest ahead of the clash given the Sky Blues- busy schedule of late.

“We are more confident than before because we-ve improved over the last part of the season. But it-s a pretty busy program for us so we need to recover, refresh physically and mentally, and focus for this coming game,” he said.

“We saw [the Mariners] last game against Brisbane who I have to say are doing brilliantly this season, but full credit to the Mariners as well because they are playing good football this season, especially in the first period. Every team has a period when they play better or worse, we expect a tough game because we know they have good quality.”

Sydney FC will still be without Nicky Carle in midfield but given the standout performances of youngsters Terry Antonis, Dimitri Petratos and Brendan Gan mid-week against Wellington, the Sky Blues are by no means short of creative firepower.

“It-s lucky for us Byun is coming back so we will make the decision for left defender position. Maybe him, maybe another player like Scotty Jamieson, but we will decide tomorrow before the game,” Lavicka said.

Striker Alex Brosque, who sealed victory with the third goal against the Phoenix, is confident he and partner Mark Bridge -who bagged his own goal and two assists on Wednesday - can continue causing defensive headaches this weekend.

“As a forward I hope I can continue to keep doing that. It helps the boys and it-s good for Bridgey too, so it-s all positive but we need to get out there and show it.”

“We-re not getting ahead of ourselves, we know how poorly we started the season and that-s still hurting in the back of our minds. We want to make sure for us and the fans who endured those hard weeks that we continue don-t get ahead of ourselves because we-re not in the top six yet.”

Earlier this season, the Sky Blues and Mariners played out a controversial 1-1 draw at the Sydney Football Stadium but since that day the two sides have experienced much different fortunes.

Despite being winless after 10 rounds, the defending Champions have collected 14 out of a possible 21 points since their first victory of the season which came against Perth on Sunday 24 October and are looking to continue to find form as the pointy end of the season looms.

Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Saturday, 4 December 2010 Local kick-off: 7.00pm Referee: Mathew Breeze Assistant referees: Sarah Ho and Daniel Dewhurst Fourth official: Ryan Shepheard

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partners are 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford) and SBS 6 (Digital). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 24. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk). *four to be omitted*

In: Pedj BOJIC (returns from injury), Patricio PEREZ (returns from injury), Nik MRDJA (promoted), Matthew LEWIS (promoted), Bernie IBINI-ISEI (promoted) Out: Daniel McBREEN (suspended - one match) Unavailable: Daniel McBREEN (suspended - one match), Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season).

Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Terry ANTONIS, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS *three to be omitted* In: 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN Out: Nil. Unavailable: Nicky CARLE (Back - 3 Weeks)

Head-to-head: All matches (played 17): Central Coast Mariners wins 4, Sydney FC wins 8 (5 draws)

• Having lost their past two home matches, Central Coast Mariners will be aiming not to equal the club's record for longest losing streak at home (three).