Week 20 of the A-League begins this weekend and the battle for the play-offs is heating up. With only Gold Coast really out of the running, and no one bar the Mariners, Roar and possibly Phoenix feeling safe for a spot, there will be plenty of six point games between now and the end of the season. Both Melbourne sides are in the thick of the action, with Heart in the six and Victory just outside. Both of Melbourne teams will be looking for wins to keep them in contention – although Heart go into the weekend with an easier task than Victory.

The round began on Friday night with Melbourne Heart hosting Gold Coast United. With United in turmoil at the moment Heart couldn’t have picked a better time to play them, but this is a game where either team can win and this is a season where securing a finals berth is proving difficult.

Fresh from their first win under Jim Magilton, Melbourne Victory will travel up to Brisbane to take on a revitalised Roar. Whilst Victory scraped a 2-1 win against the Mariners last week, Brisbane were busy cruising past in form Wellington Phoenix. Victory have a question mark over the fitness of Archie Thompson who limped out of training earlier in the week, and will also be missing their trio of Olympic squad members – Cernak, Ferreira and Foschini, but will travel with a sense of confidence for the first time in months.

Earlier on Saturday, it will be 1st plays 3rd as Central Coast Mariners take on Phoenix at Bluetongue. The Mariners will welcome big striker John Sutton to their frontline when Sutton, a hit in the Scottish Premier League, slots into Matt Simon’s boots as the Mariners look for a return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats.

Elsewhere this weekend, Newcastle Jets make the long trek west to take on Perth Glory and Adelaide – fresh from their midweek win in the Asian Champions League qualifiers – host Sydney. I’m going to have to issue a red-card warning for Perth and Adelaide with match referee Ben Williams having remained suspiciously quiet for far too long.