PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND 24 MATCHES (all times AEDT):
FRIDAY, March 20
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City at Central Coast Stadium, 5.30pm
Head to head: Mariners 11, City 10, drawn 7
Last clash: Round 5, 2019-20, City 3-1 at AAMI Park
City head to Gosford with 64-year-old coach Erick Mombaerts staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. In his stead assistant Patrick Kisnorbo will take the reins as City aim to extend a three-game unbeaten run which has put them back into second spot. The bottom-placed Mariners slumped to their ninth straight loss against Brisbane last weekend and will match a club record for consecutive defeats if they fall to City.
Key: Jamie Maclaren - The Socceroos striker has been involved in 19 of City's goals this season, more than any other player.
Tip: Melbourne City
Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets at CBUS Super Stadium, 7.30pm
Head to head: Roar 14, Jets 19, drawn 11
Last clash: Round 12, 2019-20, drawn 1-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium
Originally slated for round 27, this fixture has been brought forward with the two teams' respective opponents - Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix - in a coronavirus-related isolation period. Brisbane's win over the Mariners has them fourth on the ladder while the Jets have soared to ninth on a six-game unbeaten run under new boss Carl Robinson. Irish striker Roy O'Donovan will be facing the Roar for the first time since his exit in January with the match to be played behind closed doors at Gold Coast's CBUS Super Stadium.
Key: Brisbane's defence has only conceded more than once in four matches this season. The Jets will have to find a way past English defenders Tom Aldred and Macualay Gillesphey to keep their good run going.
SATURDAY, March 21
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC at Bankwest Stadium, 7.30pm
Head to head: Wanderers 6, Sydney 11, drawn 6
Last clash: Round 18, 2019-20, Wanderers 1-0 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Western Sydney will be out to make it a hattrick of wins over the neighbours after 1-0 wins in both derbies with the Sky Blues this season. Both losses are the only defeats Sydney have suffered all season and righting that wrong will be all the motivation Steve Corica's men need as they close in on the premiers plate. The Wanderers lie in eighth position and know a win will be a big step in pushing to get back into the finals spots.
Key: Daniel Georgievski - the Wanderers talisman returns from the suspension he picked up after being sent off in the previous Sydney derby. Will bring his trademark energy and passion for the hosts.
Tip: Sydney FC
MONDAY, March 23
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium, 7.30pm
Head to head: Jets 11, City 15, drawn 4
Last clash: Round 15, 2019-20, City 2-0 at AAMI Park
Both teams face a short turnaround to play this rearranged round 26 fixture. The Jets return home after Friday's clash with Brisbane on the Gold Coast while City make the short trip from Gosford to Newcastle after their match with the Mariners. That lack of travel will likely ensure City aren't disadvantaged against the Jets with Patrick Kisnorbo to continue filling in for Erick Mombaerts in the dugout with the 64-year-old French coach staying in Melbourne due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Key: Jamie Maclaren's 10 goals against the Jets, including two this season, are the second-most he's scored against any A-League club.
Perth Glory v Western United at HBF Park, 9.30pm
Head to head: Perth 0, Western 0, drawn 1
Last clash: Round 2, 2019-20, drawn 1-1 at GMHBA Stadium
Last weekend's goalless draw against Sydney FC has left Perth in fifth on the ladder on the back of a four-match winless run. Tony Popovic won't be panicking just yet but will be wary of keeping the distance with the chasing pack in the race to the finals. United have reignited their season after scoring 11 goals in their past two fixtures against Central Coast and Adelaide. Those results have put them back into the top six. Glory 'keeper Liam Reddy will become the fourth player to achieve 300 A-League games if he plays.
Key: Bruno Fornaroli - El Tuna has scored 12 goals so far in his first campaign for Glory and will be relishing a shootout with Western United marksman Besart Berisha.