Western United will travel to face Central Coast Mariners on Saturday afternoon, with the chance to go top of the league with two games to go.
Central Coast Mariners vs Western United
Saturday, 30 April
Kick-off: 4:05pm AEST
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Broadcast: This match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Central Coast Mariners: WLDWW
Western United: WDLWW
Both sides come into this match with an identical run of form through the last six matches, with three wins and 11 points gained.
The Mariners have scored 17 goals in that time, with recent 5-0 and 4-0 wins over Wellington Phoenix and a 4-2 victory in the F3 Derby against Newcastle Jets, but had an outlier result in a 5-0 loss against Sydney FC three weeks ago.
Western United will come into this match off the back of a 10-day break and with a major boost of two big wins in Tasmania.
A 6-0 thumping of Perth Glory brought about a new club record and was followed by a 2-0 win over Macarthur FC which has the Green and Black well-placed to continue the fight for the Premier’s Plate.
Both sides have plenty to play for on the day, with the Mariners looking to secure a spot in the top six and United one win away from claiming top spot with two games to go.
The last meeting came at the beginning of April at Mars Stadium and was an entertaining clash, with Jamie Young’s last-minute penalty save ensuring both sides walked away with a point in a 2-2 draw.
The head-to-head battle is perfectly balanced between the sides with three wins each to go with that draw, with United claiming a particularly big 6-2 win against the Mariners in March 2020.
John Aloisi confirmed that Alessandro Diamanti remains unavailable for selection but hinted that Josh Risdon is getting closer to a return.
The vice-captain will not be ready for this match, though, as Aloisi expects to be able to choose from the same list of players that were available in Tasmania.
What John Aloisi is saying
On the meaning behind the game for both sides in their goals for the season
“It’s exciting for both teams. They’re obviously playing for the top six and we’re playing to still be challenging in that final round of the season.
“We know it’s a difficult game, they’ve got very good players going forward, but we know that if we play at our best we can cause them problems as well. We’re ready for the game, we’re excited. I think it’s going to be one of the more exciting games of the round.”
On the prospect of the final three games coming across eight days
“It’s been something we’ve prepared all season for because we’ve had to deal with it all season when we’ve had those short turnarounds and a certain amount of games in a short period.
“Some players can back up quickly. We’ve trained really well (with the 10 day break), so we’ve been able to give the boys some good recovery but also some hard sessions.”