A-League round 19 preview panel

A look at the action in round 19 of the A-League season.

BEN HALLORAN.
BEN HALLORAN. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND 19 MATCHES (all times AEDT):

FRIDAY, Feb 14

Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium, 7.30pm

Head to head: Adelaide 20, Mariners 19, drawn 7

Last clash: Round 11, 2019-20, Mariners 2-1 at Central Coast Stadium

A reduced weekend of fixtures kicks off with Adelaide seeking to bounce back from last week's gutting loss to Brisbane that ruined a three-game winning streak. Their record is sublime at Gosford and the Mariners have slumped of late, dropping their last four games. Yet it was Central Coast who emerged 2-1 winners when they met before Christmas, in Adelaide, in one of their best performances of a modest campaign. A draw seems unlikely, given the Reds haven't had one yet this season.

Key: Ben Halloran - Four goals in four games for the speedy winger, although his blistering strike against the Roar came in a losing cause.

Tip: Adelaide

SATURDAY, Feb 15

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City at Eden Park, 5pm

Head to head: City 13, Phoenix 10, drawn 6

Last clash: Round 4, 2019-20, City 3-2 at AAMI Park

Match of the round between teams placed second and fourth, with City facing two stiff historical hurdles. They've lost their last three away to the Phoenix and are playing them at the famous Auckland venue where no visiting team has managed better than a draw in six games. However, Wellington's defence looked creaky in conceding four to Perth last week, something the lethal Jamie Maclaren will seek to exploit.

Key: Gary Hooper - The marquee English striker netted twice for Wellington off the bench in the loss to Perth and promptly said he wants to start. So will he?

Tip: Draw

Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets at Bankwest Stadium, 8pm

Head to head: Wanderers 8, Jets 8, drawn 6

Last clash: Round 8, 2019-20, Jets 2-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium

A clash of two freshly-appointed coaches. Carl Robinson has his maiden outing in charge of the last-placed Jets, the Welshman trying to inject hope into a side who have lost their last five on the road. They snapped a nine-game winless run with last week's 4-3 goal-fest against the Mariners. Wanderers boss Jean-Paul de Marigny will try to become the first coach to win his opening two games in charge of the club. The home side's hopes were boosted by a serious knee injury that will sideline Newcastle's midfield rock Ben Kantarovski.

Key: Dimi Petratos - The Jets schemer has come alive recently with goals and assists. He has the full backing of Robinson to unleash his bag of tricks.

Tip: Jets

SUNDAY, Feb 16

Western United FC v Brisbane Roar at Mars Stadium, 4pm

Head to head: Western United 1, Roar 0, drawn 0

Last clash: Round 10, 2019-20, Western United 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium

A highly-anticipated rematch after their December clash ended in heated fashion, with coaches not shaking hands and entering a war of words. Mark Rudan's Western United stole the points that day but have since entered a mid-season malaise to drift outside the top six. The Roar have replaced them after losing just once in their last seven, capped by last week's excellent comeback defeat of Adelaide. Brisbane's 13 goals in the final half-hour of games is a league-best statistic.

Key: Tom Aldred - The Roar skipper has become increasingly influential in the heart of defence and headed their matchwinner against Adelaide.

Tip: Draw

(Bye: Sydney FC, Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory)