Western United desperate for A-League win

Coach Mark Rudan says Western United players are desperate to end a four-game A-League winless run.
Coach Mark Rudan says Western United players are desperate to end a four-game A-League winless run.

Western United hope to kick-start their faltering A-League season when they host Central Coast at GMHBA Stadium.

United will be favourites on Sunday against the Mariners, who have lost six games on the bounce - but currently five points outside the finals mix, must end their own four-game winless run.

"It's a must-win game as far as we're concerned," United coach Mark Rudan said.

"They're on the back of six losses (but) our form isn't the best, results wise.

"Our performances have to be a bit better; we haven't scored for a number of games as well.

"Just in general, we need to be better."

United's last victory was a 3-0 win against the Mariners at the same venue - a performance Rudan said his team could draw on.

United will be without Panagiotis Kone (broken wrist), while Aaron Calver (foot), Seb Pasquali (groin) and Ivan Vujica are all still sidelined. Defender Kye Rowles has been named to return for Central Coast.

"If we play like we did the last two weeks and can improve a little bit and have that execution on the end of it, we're going to be a really tough challenge for them," Mariners coach Alen Stajcic said.

"It's really about ensuring that we get in front somehow and then be able to pile scoreboard pressure on as well as possession and territory, which we've done in the last two weeks.

"We've had the territory, we've had the possession but, really to be able to put these teams on the back foot, we have to have that scoreboard pressure.

"And that's the critical and most-important part of the game and, if we can just start executing in that part of the field, I'm sure there's plenty of wins around the corner for us."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* The two previous United-Mariners A-League games have been won by the home team, with the victor also keeping a clean sheet each time

* United have failed to score a goal in their past three games; the last time any team went longer without finding the net was the Mariners in December, 2017 (4 games)

* The Mariners have won only two of their past 33 away A-League games (D5, L26) and haven't won a match in Victoria since a 2-1 triumph over Melbourne City in March 2014.

Stats provided by Opta

Australian Associated Press