This is a must-win fixture for the Heart who are currently sitting outside the top six with just five matches remaining in their regular season.
On the weekend, Alex Terra produced one of the goals of the season to force a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory, extending the Heart’s unbeaten run to four matches but it is wins they need to push into the final six.
Skipper Simon Colosimo is expected to play some part in tonight’s match after missing the Glory clash which is a big boost but other than that, John van ‘t Schip’s line-up should remain largely unchanged.
In the Gold Coast camp, things are a bit more calm as they sit five points clear in fourth spot. Their midfield, which has been missing Jason Culina for the past three matches, may get a boost with the inclusion of his German replacement Peter Perchtold.
The former FC Nuremberg man is still awaiting a clearance but if he obtains it today, will certainly be in the starting line-up.
A 4-0 win last week over North Queensland Fury bodes well for this but the Heart have more to play for and I feel they will produce when it counts and score a vital three points.
Verdict: Heart 2-1
Melbourne Heart vs. Gold Coast United
Date: Wednesday, 19 January 2010
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 8:00pm
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 2): Melbourne Heart wins 0, Gold Coast United wins 1 (1 draw)
Match facts: - The Melbourne Heart are aiming to win their fourth straight match (for the first time), emulating the feat of four straight wins achieved by Gold Coast United in their first season 2009/10.
- Meanwhile Gold Coast United are aiming to avoid recording their fifth winless match away from home.
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League partner is 774 ABC (Melbourne) and SEN. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.
Melbourne Heart squad: 1.Clint BOLTON, 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Brendan HAMILL, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 5.Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6.Matt THOMPSON, 7.Rutger WORM, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.Gerald SIBON, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Alex TERRA, 12.Peter ZOIS, 15.John ALOISI, 16.Aziz BEHICH, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 20.Josip SKOKO, 21.Kliment TASESKI, 22.Nick KALMAR, 23.Dean HEFFERNAN, 25.Adrian ZAHRA *five to be omitted*
In: Brendan HAMILL (promoted), Simon COLOSIMO (returns from injury), Kristian SARKIES (promoted), Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), Kliment TASESKI (promoted)
Gold Coast United squad: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 19.Andrew BARISIC, 21.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS, 25.Chris BROADFOOT, 27.Chris HAROLD, 29.Zac ANDERSON, 30,Jerrad TYSON [gk], 33.Peter PERCHTOLD *four to be omitted*
In: Andrew BARISIC (promoted), Golgol MEBRAHTU (promoted), Zac ANDERSON (promoted), Jerrad TYSON [gk] (promoted), Peter PERCHTOLD (new signing).
Out: Scott HIGGINS [gk] (not selected)
Unavailable: Jason CULINA (international duty), ROBSON (hamstring injury – 7 weeks), Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury – indefinite), Matt OSMAN (knee injury – indefinite)