CENTRAL Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold has planned roles for new recruit Nick Fitzgerald and the returning Bernie Ibini in Friday’s top of the table test against Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium.
CENTRAL Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold has planned roles for new recruit Nick Fitzgerald (pictured above) and the returning Bernie Ibini in Friday-s top of the table test against Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium.
Following his release from Brisbane Roar on Wednesday, Fitzgerald linked with the Mariners for their final training run ahead of the highly anticipated clash in Gosford.
Arnold said Fitzgerald is likely to start on the bench for his side, and noted that Ibini would also feature following his trial with Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge.
“He (Fitzgerald) brings a lot of energy and he brings quality,” Arnold said. “With the loss of Tommy Rogic, Nick gives us something of an x-factor in the final third.”
“Obviously he hasn-t fitted into our structures yet or knows his roles too much. (But) we-ve brought him here to play. He-s an exceptional kid with a lot of talent and a lot of speed. Maybe he-ll start on the bench.”
Arnold said feedback forwarded to the Mariners from Club Brugge regarding the impression made by Ibini while in Europe has been positive, and noted that the player himself is on a high having proven that he can match it with elite European professionals.
“Bernie came in yesterday and did a recovery session,” Arnold said. “He looked very bright and fresh. I think it was a wonderful experience for the kid to go over there and see what professional football is like in Europe.”
“We-ve got very good feedback on how he went, and it-s given him a lot of confidence to show that he can compete with those types of players.”
“We missed him last week, especially in the second half against Newcastle when he comes on and adds a lot of energy to the side. Tomorrow night Bernie will start.”
Central Coast possess a dominant record over Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium, with the men from the city of churches having won just once in their last nine meetings against the Mariners in Gosford.
Arnold however rates the Reds highly, and believes they still have one of the Hyundai A-League best squads despite the recent departures of striker Sergio van Dijk to Indonesia and midfielder Zenon Caravella to Newcastle Jets.
Defeating the Reds, therefore, remains a tough proposition with the historical data surrounding the match not entering the equation for Arnold.
“They-ve got a lot of depth, Adelaide,” Arnold said. “When you see a guy who captained the Socceroos only 18 months ago sitting on the bench or not even in the squad in Jon McKain, it shows you how strong their squad is overall.”
“Kossie (John Kosmina) has a number of options, a number of choices and a very strong squad, and no doubt he-ll have them fired up for the game.”
“One thing that Kossie will demand is that they need to come out and fight the fight, and I am expecting a very very tough game.”
The Mariners will give a fitting send off to Tomas Rogic who signed for Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic last week. Rogic arrived in Australia late on Wednesday, and will take in the game at Bluetongue in support of his former Club.
“He wasn-t here long enough, but it-s a great opportunity for the supporters to come and say goodbye to Tommy,” Arnold said.
“He-s going to a massive club in Europe, and Mariners supporters and the club should be, and are, very very proud of the fact that he-s gone to Celtic.”
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Zachary Anderson, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 9. Bernie Ibini, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 13. Brent Griffiths, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 18. Nick Montgomery, 19. Mitchell Duke, 20. Justin Pasfield, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 23. Adam Kwasnik, 26. Nick Fitzgerald *six to be omitted
In: 9. Bernie Ibini (returns from overseas), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 13. Brent Griffiths, 15. Brad McDonald, 19. Mitchell Duke (all promoted), 29. Nick Fitzgerald (new signing)
Unavailable: 22. James Oates (ankle - 2 months)
Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (Gk) (c), 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon McKain, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 19.Jake Barker-Daish, 20.Paul Izzo (Gk), 21.Jeronimo Neumann, 23.Evan Kostopoulos
In: Nigel Boogaard (returns from injury), Marcelo Carrusca (returns from injury), Paul Izzo (Gk) (returns from injury)
Out: Iain Fyfe (omitted), Zenon Caravella (released), John Hall (Gk) (returns to NYL)
Unavailable: Bruce Djite (groin - 2 weeks), Fabio Ferreira (groin - 2-3 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United - Hyundai A-League round 18 Friday 25 January, 2013 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match. Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag is #CCMvREDS TV: LIVE on Fox Sports 1 & 1HD Radio: LIVE on selected ABC Radio frequencies & digital channels. LIVE on Coast FM (96.3FM locally or streamed online at www.coastfm.org.au)
Yellow Army Fan March Friday 25 January, 2013 Starts: Gosford Boat Ramp (near Gosford Pool) Ends: Bluetongue Stadium, Western Entrance. Yellow Army will then converge on Bay 16. Meet: Before 6:30pm