Title Contenders Go Head-To-Head

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Besart Berisha is back from suspension for Roar's clash with the Mariners. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au

It’s a mouth-watering clash between two of the form sides of the A-League which have some history and could well be a pre-cursor to the finals. Looking to consolidate its five-point buffer at the top of the ladder and go a step closer to securing the Premier's Plate, Brisbane Roar must beat third-placed Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium.

Coming into round 17, Roar has won three of its past five outings, with one draw and one loss. Included in that 10-point haul is a last start 2-1 victory at home over another form side, Wellington Phoenix. In round 5, the competition favourites defeated the Central Coasties 1-0 in Gosford.

The Mariners are undefeated in their past five – winning three and drawing two for an 11-point return (one better than Brisbane). Last start at home, the reigning champions thumped Newcastle 3-0 . It was the first time this campaign they managed to find the net more than twice in a game, with four of their seven victories 1-0 results. Marcel Seip and Hayden Morton have been included in an extended squad.

With Besart Berisha back from a mandatory one-week suspension, Brisbane’s forward line will be at full-strength. These days, Roar appears to relish road trips, with six wins and a draw from nine away matches so far in 2013/14. The two-time champion’s last winning road trip was to Melbourne where it started the New Year smashing Victory 3-0 . Brisbane’s firepower has been boosted with the return of championship player, Jean Carlos Solorzano, until the end of the season. The 26-year-old scored 11 times in Roar’s successful 2010/11 campaign. While the Costa Rican hasn’t been included this week, Socceroo Matt McKay has despite nursing an ankle injury. Ivan Franjic still hasn’t fully recovered from a stomach strain. Liam Miller is back after missing the Wellington win with a dodgy hamstring.

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