Despite a run of inconsistent form, Saturday's hosts remain at the top of the league, while Melbourne Victory currently sit at the foot of the A-League table, having picked up just seven points from 12 league games so far this season.
Central Coast Mariners suffered a disappointing defeat last time out, as they were beaten 2-0 away at Melbourne City, one of the sides in hot pursuit of the top spot.
Before that, Alen Stajcic's side left it late to snatch a point against strugglers Perth Glory, as Matt Simon netted a 90th-minute penalty to seal a 2-2 draw after they previously led 1-0 through Marco Urena.
As a result of their recent dip in form, the Mariners now sit just three points clear of second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, while only four points separate them from Melbourne City, who have two games in hand on the league leaders.
That provides a huge incentive for Stajcic's men to return to winning ways on Saturday, as a much-needed victory would mean they maintain their standing at the top, at least until Melbourne City play their games in hand.
However, they come up against a Melbourne Victory side who will be desperate for a surprise win on Saturday, as they look to take a first step towards moving off the foot of the table.
Victory suffered a fourth consecutive league defeat last time out, as Wellington Phoenix eased to a 4-1 home win, with Tomer Hemed, David Ball, Ulises Davila and Clayton Lewis all finding the net before Elvis Kamsoba scored a consolation goal for the visitors.
That followed narrow defeats to Western United and Adelaide United, as well as a heavy 6-0 loss to rivals Melbourne City, as Connor Metcalfe netted a brace alongside goals from Jamie Maclaren, Florin Berenguer, Rostyn Griffiths and Stefan Colakovski.
Grant Brebner's side now sit at the bottom of the division, four points adrift of 11th-placed Newcastle Jets.
As a result, Victory will be desperately in search of a win which could move them closer to the rest of the sides in the bottom half of the division.
To do that, they will have to change their poor away record, having picked up just one point from their five league games on the road so far this campaign.
However, Saturday does present a good opportunity to change those fortunes and spring a surprise, as they take on a Mariners side who may be lacking confidence after an inconsistent patch of form recently.
Central Coast Mariners welcomed Gianni Stensness back to action off the bench in the draw with Perth Glory, but he went on to be absent from the squad again last time out, and he could miss out again on Saturday.
Experienced forward Matt Simon will lead the line for the Mariners, having recorded six goals and two assists in his last eight A-League games.
He is expected to remain partnered by Marco Urena, who has netted his first two league goals of the season in his last four games.
However, they will be boosted by the return of centre-back Leigh Broxham, who served a suspension last time out after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the defeat to Adelaide United.
Central Coast Mariners possible starting lineup:
Birighitti; Nigro, Tongyik, Rowles, Clisby; Bouman, Nisbet, Bozanic, De Silva; Urena, Simon
Melbourne Victory possible starting lineup:
Acton; Roux, Broxham, Anderson, Traore; Brimmer, Butterfield; McManaman, Kruse, Folami; Kamsoba
We say: Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Melbourne Victory
Despite their dip in form, we fancy Central Coast Mariners to return to winning ways on Saturday against a Melbourne City side devoid of any confidence.
With their spot at the top of the table looking more precarious than ever, they should battle hard for a crucial win, and we see them securing that victory.
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