Test of mettle for Reds against Mariners

Adelaide United FC begins a hectic eight day schedule with the most difficult assignment in the Hyundai A-League – trying to beat the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

Adelaide United FC begins a hectic eight day schedule with the most difficult assignment in the Hyundai A-League - trying to beat the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Mariners, who currently hold a nine point advantage over their nearest rivals at the top of the table, are unbeaten in their last 14 games, but more notably have not been toppled at home since losing to Brisbane Roar in the 1st leg of last season-s major semi final.

It is a formidable record and according to Adelaide United Coach John Kosmina, one that proves how resolute, talented and disciplined the Mariners have become under opposite number Graham Arnold.

“They (the Mariners) are a good team in good form and we know how structured they are and even when they-ve been under the pump they manage to stay alive,” Kosmina said.

“They-re not only tough physically, but they-re in good condition in terms of their football ability as well. Mentally they-re also very strong and that-s why they are where they are.”

But while the Mariners- exceptional season to date may speak volumes about why they are now the competition-s benchmark, Kosmina and the Reds have gone about building their own impressive run of results.

Aiming for a sixth straight game without defeat, Kosmina sees the task of trying to stop the Mariners juggernaut as just another great challenge for his side, however he is well aware of what the Reds will need in abundance if they are to cause an upset and go equal on points with fifth placed Perth Glory.

“When you get to this stage of the season and times are tough at either end of the table, it-s your mental strength as much as anything else,” Kosmina said.

“Our guys are starting to look a little bit sharper and certainly I think they-re more resilient, so it should be a good game tomorrow, a little bit of fun.”

For the fourth game running, Kosmina is expected to take the same squad of 15 into the match, the Reds coach stating Cassio would not be rushed back into the team after returning from Brazil for treatment on a foot injury, the plan to have him ready to go for the home game on February 3 against Wellington.

Against the Mariners on Saturday, Kosmina will be looking for his front third trio of Sergio van Dijk, Bruce Djite and Dario Vidosic to again provide the base of the Reds- attacks, but they will have their work cut out against a Mariners team that has only conceded 11 times this season.

Back in Week 9, the Mariners put four goals past United at Hindmarsh, but this time around Reds defender and former Mariner Nigel Boogaard, who will head back to Bluetongue Stadium for the first time since coming across to Adelaide in 2010, will be determined to ensure there is no repeat of that score line.

With games to follow against the Newcastle Jets in Bathurst on Wednesday and Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday, a positive result over the Mariners would provide a perfect platform. Kick-Off is at 5.00pm ACDT.

Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season - Week 16 Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United FC Saturday 21 January 2012, Bluetongue Stadium Kick-Off: 5.30pm AEDT (5:00pm ACDT) Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 1 Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #HALccmau)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 7.Zenon Caravella, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 16.Spase Dilevski, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Francisco Usucar *one to be omitted*

In: Spase Dilevski (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Milan Susak (hamstring), Cassio (ankle), Jon McKain (knee), Evgeniy Levchenko (groin)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2.Daniel McBreen, 3.Joshua Rose, 4.Pedj Bojic, 5.Brad Porter, 6.Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7.John Hutchinson, 8.Rostyn Griffiths, 9.Bernie Ibini, 10.Adriano Pellegrino, 11.Oliver Bozanic, 12.Troy Hearfield, 13.Stuart Musialik, 14.Michael McGlinchey, 15.Brad Mcdonald, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 17.Tomas Rogic, 18.Alex Wilkinson (c), 20.Justin Pasfield (Gk), 21.Sam Gallagher, 22.Mustafa Amini, 23.Adam Kwasnik *seven to be omitted*

In: Brad Porter, Adriano Pellegrino, Stuart Musialik, Brad Mcdonald, Trent Sainsbury, Tomas Rogic, Sam Gallagher (all promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Nil

Adelaide United vs. Central Coast Mariners - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record Played 20 - 6 wins, 6 draws, 8 losses

2-Dec-2011… L 0-4… 2011/12 Wk 9 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 29-Jan-2011… L 1-2… 2010/11 Wk 25 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 26-Dec-2010… L 0-2… 2010/11 Wk 20 (Bluetongue Stadium) 15-Aug-2010… D 1-1… 2010/11 Wk 2 (Bluetongue Stadium) 15-Jan-2010… D 1-1… 2009/10 Rd 23 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 31-Oct-20009… D 0-0… 2009/10 Rd 13 (Canberra Stadium) 11-Sep-2009… W 1-0… 2009/10 Rd 6 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 25-Jan-2009… W 1-0… 2008/09 Rd 21 (Bluetongue Stadium) 15-Nov-2008… L 0-3… 2008/09 Rd 11 (Bluetongue Stadium) 3-Oct-2008… D 3-3… 2008/09 Rd 7 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 14-Dec-2007… L 1-2… 2007/08 Rd 17 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 10-Nov-2007… L 0-2… 2007/08 Rd 12 (Bluetongue Stadium) 30-Sep-2007… W 2-1… 2007/08 Rd 6 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 21-Jan-2007… W 3-1… 2006/07 Rd 21 (Bluetongue Stadium) 25-Nov-2006… L 0-2… 2006/07 Rd 14 (Bluetongue Stadium) 6-Oct-2006… W 3-1… 2006/07 Rd 7 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 26-Feb-2006… L 0-1… 2005/06 Preliminary Final (Hindmarsh Stadium) 20-Jan-2006… D 1-1… 2005/06 Rd 19 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 13-Nov-2005… W 2-1… 2005/06 Rd 12 (Bluetongue Stadium) 25-Sep-2005… D 1-1… 2005/06 Rd 5 (Hindmarsh Stadium)

At Bluetongue Stadium Played 8; Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 4, Draws 1

Last time they met in the Hyundai A-League 2-Dec-2011 Week 9, Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season at Hindmarsh Stadium Adelaide United 0 Central Coast Mariners 4 (Amini 30-, Ibini 32-, Zwaanswijk 38- (pen), Griffiths 66-)

Adelaide United last three results Wk 15. 13-1-12… D 1-1… vs. Melbourne Victory (AAMI Park) Wk 14. 7-1-12… D 1-1… vs. Brisbane Roar (Hindmarsh Stadium) Marathon. 4-1-12… W 3-1… vs. Melbourne Heart (AAMI Park)