An understrength Central Coast Mariners will be looking for their first win in three matches when they host Perth Glory in the first of an A-League NYE double-header. We’ll have live scores from 6.00pm AEDT.
Less than two weeks ago the A-League minor premiership race was in danger of becoming a two-horse race, with Central Coast and Adelaide streeting ahead.
But the festive season hasn’t been kind. Graham Arnold finds himself preparing to face one of the in-form teams of the A-League without a cache of stars who have been integral to the Mariners’ success.
After his brain snap on Thursday night Tom Rogic will serve the first match of a three-game ban, while veterans Daniel McBreen and John Hutchinson will also miss after picking up suspensions from the 1-0 loss to Sydney.
To add to Arnold’s woes, towering centre-half Patrick Zwaanswijk will also miss with a groin strain. The news isn’t all bad though, with Pedj Bojic coming back in after serving his own ban.
Perth might not have been at their best on Thursday night in their 1-1 draw at home to Western Sydney but they did enough to extend their unbeaten run to three matches, and they sit comfortably in fifth position on the A-League table.
They will head east without Michael Thwaite, who has been one of the Glory’s best this year, but apart from that Ian Ferguson has virtually a full squad to choose from.
Tonight’s game could turn out to be crucial for the momentum of these two sides’ seasons in the second half of the year.
For Central Coast, the key to tonight will be replacing Rogic and Hutchinson. If Graham Arnold cannot, Miller, Burns and co should do enough to pinch a rare road win.