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Australian Football: Mariners the underdogs says boss

Sydney FC may be missing a host of players but Central Coast Mariners boss Nick Montgomery says his side are still the underdogs heading into Sunday's clash.

The Mariners are priced at 5/4 to finish in the top six of the A-League this season and match their amazing achievements of last year when they upset the form book to make finals.

Under-strength Sydney

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has said he is struggling to put a side out against the Mariners as he has been robbed of key players through injury, sickness and international duty.

But Montgomery had little sympathy as Corica has a bigger budget and bigger squad and should be able to cope without a number of players.

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The Mariners themselves are without key central defender Kye Rowles who is away on international duty with the Socceroos for their crucial World Cup qualifiers.

"We go with a squad of 18, I think they have a squad of 23,"  Montgomery told reporters ahead of the game. "If you do the maths on that we are missing one when they are missing three, they still have more players than us.

"I'm delighted for Kye. Hopefully he gets some minutes because it's a great experience for him.

"Sydney are a big team with a big squad and a big budget and we are a small group of players with some scholarship boys who make up the squad. The next few weeks are going to be testing for everyone's squads."

Cummings boost

Central Coast have been handed one huge boost though with new striker Jason Cummings is fit and Montgomery could hand the Scottish star his debut against the Sky Blues.

"We got him ticked off and he's trained the last two days," Montgomery added. "You can see he is a quality player and his finishing is top class.

"You don't score that many goals in Scotland and in England unless you're a good finisher.

"He's definitely available and I'll be picking a team around the boys returning and I'll put a team out that I feel is going to win the game."

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