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Sydney to go 100 per cent against Mariners

AAP logoAAP 7/01/2017 Adrian Warren

Unbeaten A-League leaders Sydney are determined not to let their guard down when they make the short trip to Gosford to play lowly Central Coast Mariners.

A massive 23 points and eight places separates the two clubs on the table going into the round.

"We need to go there 100 per cent, as if we're playing a grand final," Sydney defender Michael Zullo told AAP.

"I think they are playing a decent brand of football and we need to be wary of that and go there and do our thing.

"We plan on going there, dominating the game and not really giving any of their better players a chance to come in to the game."

Zullo felt Sydney's exceptional start to the season had galvanised teams to lift their game when playing the Sky Blues.

"Every team is more motivated than normal to play against us because they know about the challenges about to come their way and they want to be the first team to beat us," Zullo said.

"In that way we're seeing that teams are playing better against us than they are probably other weeks, but that's fine.

"I think for us the motivation is there to be the best in the league, to break records and to keep that going we want to finish first in the league."

Mariners coach Paul Okon was encouraged by his team's effort in their 2-2 New Year's Eve home draw with Melbourne City.

He said Central Coast weren't focused on being the first club to beat Sydney this season, but rated the game a big challenge for his side.

"We set a challenge immediately before we celebrated New Year's and that was to try and get close to that performance and it's against the team coming first, so its a special game," Okon said.

"If I said it's just a normal A-League game on Sunday I'd be lying.

"It's against Sydney FC and a team that's currently first and undefeated.

"There is that little extra motivation and challenge for us.

Sydney will be without suspended captain and leading goalscorer Alex Broesque and central defender Matt Jurman, who moved to a South Korean club during the week.

"The focus is not on that they are missing those two players, we know Sydney is a very good team," Okon said.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven games against Central Coast Mariners.

* They are undefeated in their last seven games away from home (six wins, one draw).

* Mariners striker Roy O'Donovan has scored three goals in his past four games at home.

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