Shinji Ono is the subject of transfer speculation. Image courtesy of The Daily Telegraph/Gregg Porteous
The reigning A League champions will be keen to continue their winning ways on Monday night against fellow grand finalists Western Sydney Wanderers on the road. But to do so Central Coast will have to battle fatigue, having to back up in Sydney’s west after a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at North Sydney Oval on Thursday night. In previous meetings, the Mariners have lost to Western Sydney just once, though the Wanderers are undefeated at home in their last 10 matches.
This is sure to be a tight contest with both teams struggling to find the net with any proficiency in recent weeks, so defence is where the match could be won and lost. The Wanderers surely hold the upper hand in that department, having conceded the least amount of goals (7) in the competition, while Central Coast and a dire Liam Reddy conceded four in their match with Adelaide in Round 10 and kept just one clean sheet in their last nine matches. Their one saving grace could be potent striker Daniel McBreen who bagged a brace the last time these sides faced off at the Pirtek Stadium.
Wanderers striker Tomi Juric will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness after missing the past month with a knee injury. It will be tough for the red and whites to break out of their scoring slump without him, given they’re already missing Mark Bridge and Brendon Santalab. Their midfield spark Aaron Mooy is also sidelined. There has also been an unwanted distraction with talk of maestro Shinji Ono possibly moving back to Japan in the near future.
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