If ever there was a time for league leaders Brisbane Roar to finally get beaten, it is now.
Central Coast have second place in their sights and have won four of their past five at home and take on a Roar side showing signs of vulnerability.
Brisbane struggled to overcome the lowly Perth Glory on Friday night, eventually scraping a 1-1 draw to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 matches.
But they were far from impressive whilst the Mariners ground out a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix to inch further away from fourth and keep their hopes of a top-two finish alive.
However, we must remember that the Roar demolished the Mariners 5-1 the last time these two sides met at Bluetongue Stadium on November 28.
It is a tough fixture to pick and it would be easy to either sit on the fence or tip in the Roar but with Adam Kwasnik returning from suspension and coach Graham Arnold bound to learn from his mistakes from the last encounter, I can sense a slight upset here which could be the loss the Roar needs to really get back that hunger to push for the title.
Verdict: Mariners 2-1
Central Coast Mariners vs. Brisbane RoarDate: Wednesday, 12 January 2011 Venue: Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Local kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT Referee: Peter Green Head-to-Head: All matches (played 19): Central Coast Mariners wins 3, Brisbane Roar wins 10 (6 draws) Match fact: Having remained undefeated for their past ten away matches, Brisbane Roar is now aiming to create a new Hyundai A-League record for longest undefeated away streak (11). The Roar have currently equalled the record set by Sydney FC, who went for ten matches undefeated away from home between September 2007 and January 2008. The last time Brisbane lost away was a 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on 12 September 2010.
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD & Sky Sport 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Central Coast Mariners squad: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 13. Michael BAIRD, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk) *two to be omitted* In: Adam KWASNIK (return from suspension), Chris DOIG (promoted). Out: Nil Unavailable: Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Nik MRDJA (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK In: Rocky VISCONTE (promoted Out: HENRIQUE (groin strain - 2 weeks) Unavailable: Ivan FRANJIC (quad - 1 week), Matt McKAY (international duty - 4 weeks)