After spending most of the season on top of the ladder, Central Coast Mariners are out to end a four-game winless run with a win against Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast will chase a much-needed A-League win against Melbourne Victory on Sunday as the Mariners try to halt a worrying form run.
Having been on top of the league for most of the campaign, the Mariners have slipped to fourth after Wednesday's 4-0 thumping by Brisbane Roar at Gosford.
That defeat means Central Coast have won just one of their past eight games and after bucking the trend from past seasons with their strong form, coach Alen Stajcic is eager for his team to avoid letting their campaign peter out.
"It's really important for us, this match, to get back into the winners' circle," Stajcic said.
"The competition is so tight. There's already two or three teams on 31 points.
"There's another couple of teams that could end up on 31 points, you could have five or six teams on 31 points by the end of the weekend or certainly next weekend.
"Every point now and every three points now is critical for everyone.
"We were on top of the league for 16 weeks or so and now that we've had a little bit of a taste of what it's like to be up there we certainly want to make sure we give ourselves every chance of ending up as high as we can by the end of the season."
The Mariners will head into the clash without in-form Costa Rican international Marco Urena, who has copped a three-game ban following his red card against the Roar.
Polish import Michal Janota will return from injury while young sensation Alou Kuol has also been included by Stajcic after missing the Roar game with a viral infection.
Victory have won one and lost one under interim boss Steve Kean following Grant Brebner's exit but with Tony Popovic's arrival in mid-year looming, Stajcic is wary of an opponent eager to prove their value.
"They've obviously got a lot to play for with Popovic coming in next season," Stajcic said.
"They're playing for contracts, they're playing for their life and sometimes that hunger is one of the biggest motivations you can have."
KEY MATCH STATS
* Cental Coast are looking to extend a three-game unbeaten run against Victory which includes a 1-1 draw when these teams met in Gosford earlier this season.
* Victory have failed to score in four of their past five matches at AAMI Park, including their past two matches at the ground where they've conceded 10 goals.
* Mariners' attacker Alou Kuol's five goals and two assists are a league-high total as a substitute this season.