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City hope to capitalise on tired Mariners

AAP logoAAP 30/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Melbourne City hope to run a fatigued Central Coast ragged as they chase a first win in five games to keep up with the A-League's breakaways.

City's blistering start to the campaign has stagnated somewhat this month, with John van 't Schip's well-resourced side claiming just three points from a possible 12 to slip to fourth and 11 points adrift of dominant leaders Sydney FC.

On paper at least, a New Year's Eve visit to Gosford shapes as the perfect remedy.

The ninth-placed Mariners are not only defensively brittle, but have a short three-day turnaround from Wednesday night's demoralising 4-1 hiding at the hands of Melbourne Victory.

Just as brutal as the scoreline was the heat and humidity at AAMI Park, which hovered at around 35 degrees and sapped the players' legs.

While City have only one additional day to prepare following Tuesday night's classic 3-3 draw with Perth, van 't Schip felt it could still give his side the upper hand.

"We all know the recovery is not most optimal for both teams, for them even one day less - that has to be an advantage for us," he said.

"But again it all comes back to the way we play, and if we play the way we can play, we can make them run more.

"But they have shown they can play possession-based football ... so they let opponents run as well.

"We have to try to avoid that, control the game by having the ball, let them run behind us and then make sure that when we have to defend we're in good positions."

Bruno Fornaroli's two missed penalties aside, City were defensively spongy against the Glory and will again be without key centre-back Michael Jakobsen (calf), Osama Malik (quad) and suspended winger Fernando Brandan.

In spite of that, van 't Schip praised Jakobsen's central defensive replacement Ruon Tongyik as one of his team's better performers and hinted at more game time for the Sudanese-born 20-year-old, while Josh Rose is also in the frame to face his former club for the first time.

Mariners coach Paul Okon felt the quick turnaround might actually give his squad a chance to right the wrongs of the Victory display and implored his youthful side to stop conceding "sloppy goals".

"We were guilty of giving the ball away under no pressure the other night (against Victory)," Okon said.

"Against Melbourne City we have to make sure we avoid doing that."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Central Coast conceded five goals last time they hosted City at Central Coast Stadium after conceding two goals in the seven games prior

* Only once in their last six away games have City netted more than one goal, though they've also only conceded more than a one goal just once

* Bruno Fornaroli has scored three goals in his last three meetings with the Mariners

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