Arnold’s men to deliver the gifts in Christmas Cracker

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is confident his side can reward Members and supporters with an early Christmas present tomorrow night at Bluetongue Stadium, three points over North Queensland Fury in front of what is hoped will be a massive festive season crowd.

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is confident his side can reward Members and supporters with an early Christmas present tomorrow night at Bluetongue Stadium, three points over North Queensland Fury in front of what is hoped will be a massive festive season crowd.

Gone is the scenario of having a leg-weary side lining up to play a second game in four days after Sunday-s clash with Gold Coast United lasted just 19 minutes, and while Arnold admits that throws up its own challenges, he says his side will go into tomorrow-s fixture bristling with confidence.

“I think we would rather have got the game out of the way, it makes for a heavy schedule ahead but that is the way it goes. North Queensland on Wednesday night is a huge game for us and hopefully there will be a big crowd to come along and watch,” said Arnold.

The Mariners boast a formidable record against the Fury, unbeaten in the five clashes between the two clubs so far, having picked up three wins and two draws in matches so far.

The Fury will be heading into their fourth match in just 13 days, but nonetheless, Arnold is expecting Franz Straka-s side to bring plenty of passion to Bluetongue tomorrow night.

“The emotion that goes through him (Straka) is how his team plays football. Everyone has been through a difficult program with backing up for midweek games and it is no different for them.

“I-m expecting an extremely hard game like we-ve had in both encounters with them so far, 3-2 (win) in the first game where we scored in the last minute and then a tough 1-nil victory away from home so we-re preparing for a very difficult game like it will be and go all out for the three points,” Arnold said.

Another exciting Christmas treat for Mariners Members and supporters is the potential inclusion of Patricio Perez in the starting eleven, with Arnold admitting the livewire Argentine attacking midfielder is getting closer to a return to the side after overcoming injury.

“Perez is very close to starting now. We brought him out here to play football, not to sit and watch but we have hardly had him in the first 18 games of the season, only two and a half to three over the total of 18 games so it-s a bit like signing a new player. He-ll add extra when he comes in and we look forward to seeing the best of him,” Arnold said.

The match kick starts a marathon five-match “Feast of Festive Football” at Bluetongue Stadium, continuing with Boxing Day and New Year-s Eve blockbusters against high-flying Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory respectively, before visits of Wellington Phoenix and top-of-the-table Brisbane roar to begin the New Year.

Arnold and his men are desperate to see Members and supporters flood through the gates and share in the Christmas spirit with their team.

“We-ve done a lot of travelling while Bluetongue was getting resurfaced but we don-t have to leave our houses until mid January now.

“Five home games at Bluetongue and then an away game against Newcastle so I think the boys will all be happy about that, but they are difficult games at home, it is an important period for us and one that I hope the fans will come out in droves for and support us over the Christmas period.

“You-ve always got to be positive and look forward rather than backwards. Brisbane are too far gone and at the moment Adelaide are in reaching distance but we are going to have to be at our best against them on Boxing Day, again hopefully in front of a big turnout and the most positive thing is apart from Brad Porter we have a full selection to choose from with no injuries or suspensions,” said Arnold.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against North Queensland Fury this Wednesday, 22 December at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:30pm AEDT and tickets are available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners five match Memberships are a great way to save and catch every minute of the Mariners- feast of Festive Football this summer. To purchase CLICK HERE or call 1300 767 442.

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partners are 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford) and Zinc 100.7 FM (Townsville).

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 5): Central Coast Mariners wins 3, North Queensland Fury wins 0 (2 draws)

Central Coast Mariners: 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk) ?*two to be omitted* ? In: Matthew LEWIS (promoted), John HUTCHINSON (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 9. Eugene SSEPPUYA, 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk) *two to be omitted*

In: Dyron DAAL (promoted), Andre KILIAN (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Jack HINGERT (ankle - 2 weeks), Eric AKOTO (knee - 1 weeks), Adam CASEY (ankle - 1 weeks), Osama MALIK (hamstring - awaiting MRI scan result), Isaka CERNAK (knee - 2 weeks), Matthew HAM (knee - out for the season)

Referee: Ryan Shepheard