A-League Preview: Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

Melbourne Victory will take on Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Wednesday knowing that two former players will likely play for the opposition, in a game that promises to showcase how the title run will take shape this season.

The Melbourne-based outfit started the season in a shaky manner, but have since found form during the festive period having gone five games without a loss. The recent win against local rivals Melbourne City propelled them to second in the league, but the 1-1 draw between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers has seen the former overtake Kevin Muscat’s men. Victory are now 10 points behind league leaders Sydney FC, but have two games in hand.

Returning to the game at hand, the Mariners are likely to field both former Victory players, Scott Galloway and Connor Pain, as the two will have an intricate knowledge of how the home side play. This should give them a slight boost since their recent meetings against the Victorian side have been lacklustre, with nine previous encounters not resulting in a win.

Meanwhile, Victory forward Besart Berisha will surpass Archie Thompson as the highest goal scorer in the A-League if he gets the ball into the back of the net on Wednesday, as he currently sits tied with the Blues’ legend on 90 goals.

Kevin Muscat’s side will welcome back Mitch Austin, who returns from injury. However, George Howard is out with a knee problem while Alastair Bray remains sidelined with a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out for three to four months.

The Mariners will have Jacques Faty available following his return from injury, while Mickael Tavares, Storm Roux and Jake Adelson remain on the sidelines.

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