Arnold: Respected Reds a tough test

CENTRAL Coast Head Coach Graham Arnold believes his side is in for the toughest test of their Hyundai A-League season thus far when the Mariners take on Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

CENTRAL Coast Head Coach Graham Arnold believes his side is in for the toughest test of their Hyundai A-League season thus far when the Mariners take on Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds are flying high in first place in Australia-s top flight having accumulated an impressive 19 points from 24 on offer so far this term.

While Arnold believes many A-League observers are expecting John Kosmina-s team to begin to falter, the former Qantas Socceroos boss is of the opinion that Adelaide are a formidable unit - one that will be causing A-League adversaries ample headaches come the business end of the domestic campaign.

“They-re a strong side, a resilient team and Kossie-s (John Kosmina) got them functioning very well,” Arnold said.

“You can tell by the way they-re playing that Kossie has worked a lot on their defence, and they-ve got some dangerous players up front.”

“A lot of people have been waiting for them to slow up a bit because of the ACL, but the way Kossie-s been rotating players in and out, he-s freshening them up and they-ll be there for the long haul.”

Central Coast possess a dominant record over the men from the city of churches at Gosford-s idyllic bayside arena.

Indeed, in 11 matches at the venue since the Hyundai A-League-s inception, the Mariners have claimed maximum points on six occasions. There have been two draws between the two sides, while Adelaide have won three times on the banks of the Brisbane Water.

And while the Mariners will be gunning for their sixth straight win over Adelaide in the Hyundai A-League, Arnold said he won-t be drawing on historically favourable results in his pre-match team talk.

“It-s good for the history books but it doesn-t help us tomorrow night,” Arnold said of the Mariners- superior record against the Reds.

“We-ve got to go out and put in our best performance. The boys are fit and healthy and I expect a very good performance tomorrow night.”

With a number of players pushing hard for selection in the matchday squad and Patrick Zwaanswijk available for inclusion again following a week on the sidelines due to suspension, Arnold admits he may well struggle to sleep tonight as he attempts to decide who to deploy against Adelaide.

Justin Pasfield will slot straight in for Qantas Socceroos representative Mathew Ryan in goal, however Arnold must also determine which of his charges should take the place of the Club-s other national team representative, youngster Tomas Rogic.

Moreover, the 2011/12 Premiership winning coach must resolve whether or not he should alter the backline which so resolutely repelled Brisbane Roar-s best attacking efforts last Sunday.

“I am still deciding who to play at number 10,” he said. “(Adriano) Pellegrino is our natural second number 10 but we-ve got Bernie (Ibini) who can play in behind there as well.”

“Zac (Anderson) did a fantastic job against Brisbane Roar. I was over the moon with him and (Trent) Sainsbury last week, and he-s given me a tough night-s sleep ahead.”

The top-of-the-table Hyundai A-League round 9 contest kicks off at 5:30pm (AEDT).

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 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 (Gk), 23. Adam Kwasnik, 30. David Bradasevic (Gk) *Four to be omitted

In: 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk (returns from suspension), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 15. Brad McDonald, 17. Anthony Caceres, 23. Adam Kwasnik (all promoted), 30. David Bradasevic (Gk) (promoted from National Youth League team)

Out: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 10. Tomas Rogic (Qantas Socceroos international duty)

Unavailable: 22. James Oates (ankle - 2 months)

Adelaide United Squad: 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio (c), 7.Zenon Caravella, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 14.Cameron Watson, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 20.Paul Izzo (Gk), 21.Jeronimo Neumann, 22.Fabio Ferreira, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 30.John Hall (Gk) *Two to be omitted

In: Zenon Caravella (promoted), Sergio van Dijk (promoted), John Hall (Gk) (promoted from NYL squad)

Out: Eugene Galekovic (Gk) (Qantas Socceroos international duty)

Unavailable: Jon McKain (leg - under review), Daniel Bowles (hip - 1 week), Jake Barker-Daish (groin - 2 weeks)

Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United - 2012/13 Hyundai A-League Round 9 Saturday 1 December, 2012 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 5:30pm (local) Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to Saturday's game. Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag for Sunday-s game is #CCMvREDS