Arnold eyes early hit out

While new Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold insists tomorrow’s friendly hit out against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium shouldn’t count as his first game in charge of the Hyundai A-League club, he admits he’s excited at the prospect of taking his place in the technical area.

While new Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold insists tomorrow-s friendly hit out against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium shouldn-t count as his first game in charge of the Hyundai A-League club, he admits he-s excited at the prospect of taking his place in the technical area.

The Mariners travel to Adelaide to provide the Reds with competitive opposition, as they prepare for their third group stage clash of the AFC Asian Champions League, after two wins in their opening two matches against Korean and Chinese opposition.

"I wouldn-t say its my first game, it-s a training session. It-s a good opportunity to have a look at some of the younger players, and to make my mind up on a few players for next season. The boys have been excellent since the season ended, I-ve trained them for another month to down-train them and their attitude has been fantastic, but I think they are looking forward to having a game of football instead of training.

"Aurelio (Vidmar) is a good friend of mine. He-s done a fantastic job down there in Adelaide and they-re doing well in the Champions League, but one of the problems for teams in the Champions League is keeping match fit out of season, but Aurelio knew that we trained on so he rang us for a game, so we will go down there and give them as good a game as we can," said Arnold.

Arnold says he-s hopeful of adding some new faces to the squad, to join the new additions of Daniel McBreen, Joshua Rose and Mustafa Amini, who will link up officially with the Mariners at the beginning of Pre-Season in May.

"I-m very happy with the Australian recruitment. There will be another one or two good signings in the next couple of weeks, plus there will be another three or four visa players to really add some top quality in the squad.

"I-ve got talent scouts out pretty much all over Europe, the UK and South America as we speak, then, on March 31 I-m going to South America for two weeks to have a look at some of the players that the scouts have identified, and then across to the UK for the next four weeks until the end of the Premier League, and while I-m there with youth teams, Championship and lower divisions playing midweek, I-ll be able to get out and see some of those games as well.

"Hopefully by the time the middle of May comes around I-ll be able to come back with a couple of overseas signings," said Arnold.

The Mariners squad will continue to train up until the end of March, when they-ll break for a well deserved break, following two years of almost non stop football, thanks to their participation in last season-s Asian Champions League.

"In the first month it has been a big job so far, moving players out and starting player recruitment which I see as vital, but also changing some things around off the field around the place, as well as on the field.

"The enthusiasm here is fantastic, I-m loving the job, it-s a great bunch of boys and a good club with good people, and I-m excited to get back after the World Cup," said Arnold.

The squad will begin its arduous pre-season training program in the first week of May, with a list of pre-season trial matches to be released in due course.