Both sides will be looking to bounce back for different reasons when they clash on Saturday afternoon.
Wellington face life in the A-league without Ernie Merrick after the Scotsman resigned immediately following the 2-0 loss to Adelaide last week.
Meanwhile Central Coast suffered one of their biggest losses of the season when they dropped a 4-1 decision at home to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
On paper Wellington have the squad to be in the top six.
They bought well in the offseason and Merrick finally had a squad that he could truly call his own after luring Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler and others.
That is why the decision for Merrick to step down has come as a shock because it was completely out of the blue.
Sure, Wellington has been disappointing in the opening nine rounds of the competition but there have been external factors that have hurt them too including losing a big portion of their squad to international duty in the opening week.
Now that Merrick is gone we expect to see some lift from the Phoenix. It is uncanny how often a team lifts substantially the following week a coach has either been sacked or resigned.
That fact aside, Wellington hasn’t been terrible at home and have actually been competitive in their three fixtures to date, winning one of those.
Paul Okon’s side has been one of the overachievers in the first nine rounds but were bought back down to earth last week. Going into the game with points in four of their last five fixtures, they dominated possession (54%) against the Wanderers and even took the early lead. It all turned sour after that though as they conceded four goals for the second time this season.
HOW IT PANS OUT
One of Wellington’s two wins for the season has come against Central Coast. The teams squared off in Canberra only a few weeks ago and it was a depleted Phoenix side which landed the money 2-0.
Playing as the ‘home’ side despite the match being played in Waikato, Wellington will be desperate to break a two-game losing run after notching back-to-back successes.
Last week’s loss to Adelaide could have turned out to be a completely different story if the in-form Roy Krishna had converted from the penalty spot. As it turned out, he had his shot saved and then Henrique blasted two pearlers past the Phoenix goalie to secure the Reds’ first win of the season.
Wellington are hard to top at home and actually have the equal best defence on home soil (two goals conceded) along with the table-topping Sydney FC.
That alone will make things extremely difficult for the Mariners who have conceded 10 goals on the road in four games, however, have managed to score seven in those matches.
Wellington Phoenix – they will be aiming for their second straight win against the Mariners since going winless in the previous four attempts
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5:
Overs – we think there will be a few put in the back of the net