United up for high-stakes Mariners clash

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Western United can overtake Melbourne City in the race for the A-League Men premiership plate with a win over Central Coast, but could be without captain Alessandro Diamanti for finals.

John Aloisi's United are two points behind leaders City with a game in hand, ahead of Saturday's contest in Gosford.

Claiming the premiership would also deliver United's maiden piece of silverware, and Aloisi's first as a coach, though he played down those expectations.

"We haven't spoken about it as a group," he said.

"I haven't mentioned that 'we have to win these three games to win the premiership', it's more about 'let's make sure that we're ready for the Mariners game.'"

Finals are already locked in for United but they could yet have to front them without Diamanti.

The 38-year-old hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against Western Sydney on February 20.

"It's going to be touch-and-go for him to get back," Aloisi said.

Defender Josh Risdon should return from a syndesmosis injury before finals.

Saturday's game is also high-stakes for the sixth-placed Mariners, who are aiming to cement a finals spot.

"It's exciting, isn't it?" Aloisi said.

"It's exciting for both teams because they're obviously playing for top six and we're playing to still be challenging in that final round of the season.

"We know it's a difficult game, they've got very good players going forward.

"But we know if we play at our best we can cause them problems as well, even away from home."

United are poised to have at least one home final but Aloisi conceded he didn't yet know where they would be played, after five home venues in the regular season.

"We're happy to play anywhere. I don't know where it will be because that's something the APL are working on with the club," he said.

"I'm not worried about where we play."

United will stay in NSW until after their away game against Newcastle on Wednesday.

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