The battle for the wooden spoon will be all but decided after the first game this Saturday.
Just two points separate the sides at the bottom of the A-league table so you can be sure that neither side will leave anything in the tank.
Adelaide will go into this off a little more confident of the two sides having beaten the finals bound Brisbane Roar 2-1 last week, albeit under controversial circumstances. Central Coast’s finals ambitions are now all but gone with three defeats and a draw in the past month.
HOME SWEET HOME
Central Coast has adopted a far more fluent attacking style of football at home than they have on away trips.
Paul Okon’s side has registered two goals in five of their past six home games with their defeat to Melbourne Victory a few weeks ago the only time they didn’t find the back of the net.
That means that the Mariners could be good for at least two goals again. Unibet has the Over 1.5 goals for Central Coast $2 which looks very enticing indeed.
Coach Gui Amor will be hoping to erase most memories of his team’s title defence in 2016/17.
The one thing he will want to banish the most is their shocking away record. The Reds have been dreadful playing away from Coopers Stadium and are the only side in the competition yet to win on the road. In fact, they have collected just four draws from 11 games.
Such has been their inability to compete on the road that they are have scored just six times in those 11 matches while conceded three times as many (18).
One of the most important stats will be the Mariners twin defeats of Adelaide this season.
Central Coast has beaten Adelaide 2-1 both home and away so far this campaign which is in total contrast to previous clashes between the teams.
Prior to those results Adelaide had notched four straight wins over their opponents and averaged three goals a game in doing so.
This one promises to deliver some fireworks.
There is probably no greater motivation for teams that are outside the finals race than to avoid finishing last.
Central Coast’s home form, although ranking them last in the league with 10 points, is still good enough to get the job done here should they continue on their recent goalscoring trends.
Adelaide got lucky last week against Brisbane with a dubious penalty awarded in the 95th minute. Not much has gone right for the Reds this season but that win has given them a chance to catch the Mariners and pass them on the table.
Strap yourselves in punters this one could be the match of the round!
THE MATCH TIP:
CENTRAL COAST 2-1 as that has been the score the last two times they have played
ROY O’DONOVAN – the Mariners hitman hasn’t scored in four games so he is well overdue