Just a week after the Sydney derby the A-League throws up another clash of New South Wales rivals as Sydney FC host Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium. With the race for finals spots well and truly under way, both sides will be looking to stake their claims having endured patchy form of late.
Sydney FC midfielder Brett Emerton announced his retirement with immediate effect this week after a persistent back injury finally got the better of him. After initial suggestions that he would play one last game as a farewell, it has now been confirmed that the former Socceroo will be presented on the pitch prior to kick off.
Sydney have added to their midfield options after confirming the signing of Milos Dimitrijevic. He completes a Serbian Spine for the Sky Blues, joining centre back Nikola Petcovic and striker Ranko Despotovic. Nick Carle, Seb Ryall and Joel Chianese could also all return from suspensions and injuries.
The Mariners return to Allianz Stadium for the first time since winning last seasons’ Grand Final against the Wanderers. However, they have not beaten Sydney FC at Moore Park in the last three seasons. Their hopes of ending that winless run have been dealt a blow with captain John Hutchinson suspended after collecting five yellow cards so far this campaign.
Both teams go into this game with only one win in their last five matches. Sydney are usually strong at home, and with two away games in Melbourne immediately following this clash, they will be desperate to take maximum points.
Saturday 18th January, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:30
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners