Arnold eyes rare Kiwi scalp
They may be undefeated at Westpac Stadium since October 2008, but Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is confident his side can finally put an end to Wellington Phoenix’s dominance of their home ground when the two sides clash tomorrow.
They may be undefeated at Westpac Stadium since October 2008, but Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is confident his side can finally put an end to Wellington Phoenix-s dominance of their home ground when the two sides clash tomorrow.
"It-s going to be a very tough game, Wellington are unbeaten at home in 21 games and a lot of their players are coming off the back of a successful World Cup campaign and they are riding a high at the moment, so it is going to be very difficult, but very interesting," said Arnold.
And the Mariners should head into the clash on a high too, after an opening day win against Melbourne Heart was backed up by a 1-all draw at home to Adelaide United. While those two results keep the Yellow and Navy-s unbeaten start alive, it could quite easily have been back-to-back victories, after coming home with a wet sail against the Reds, including having a penalty shout knocked back.
"It-s been a good start to the season. Four points from a possible six is good but I-m a bit disappointed we didn-t get all three points last week against Adelaide, that-s the way things go, and normally those things even themselves out over the year.
"We worked a lot last week on our attacking play, disappointing was our midfield shape in transition, they weren-t getting ready for the second ball but we emphasised that during the week because Adelaide are a counter attack team, but our second half was much better, we fixed that at half time and I thought our second half performance was very promising, very good, so it is something to build on for sure," said Arnold.
Wellington-s 3-all draw with Gold Coast United last Friday night was overshadowed by the atrocious weather conditions which confronted the two sides in the Kiwi capital, and with the heavy rain forecast to continue this week, Arnold believes that could work in the visiting team-s favour.
"It doesn-t affect our prep because we have a good field here and plenty of time to train, and hopefully they-re not training at all!
"Obviously it will affect the tactics a little bit, its pretty hard to play football on that type of surface so we might have to change the tactics when we get there, but for now we go ahead with what we were planning to do," said Arnold.
In exciting news for Mariners fans, Argentine livewire Patricio Perez is edging closer to a debut, and has travelled with the team across the Tasman, however Arnold fears those characteristic weather conditions may delay his maiden appearance for the Gosford based club for another week.
"Patricio Perez is coming along very well, but the condition of the field might have a bearing on whether or not he plays on Sunday after having a hamstring injury, but we have 22 fit players, 22 healthy players, so it-s a good headache to have," said Arnold.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 10. Oscar Roberto CORNEJO, 11. DANIEL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER, 30. Griffin McMASTER (gk) *two to be omitted*
In: Griffin McMASTER (short-term injury replacement), Mirjan PAVLOVIC (promoted), Marco ROJAS (promoted) Out: Jonathan GOULD (injury cover no longer required) Unavailable: Diego WALSH (knee - 4 weeks), James MUSA (knee - 1 week), Jade NORTH (overseas - 2 weeks), Reece CROWTHER (gk, ribs - 8 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 2 Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 23. Adam KWASNIK *two to be omitted*
In: Chris DOIG (promoted), Patricio PEREZ (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Nil
Referee: Peter O-Leary