Baird ready to fire for Mariners

The Central Coast Mariners have today added a 23rd player to their Hyundai A-League 2010/11 squad with ex-Perth Glory striker Michael Baird joining the club for the remainder of this campaign as well as for the 2011/12 season.

The Central Coast Mariners have today added a 23rd player to their Hyundai A-League 2010/11 squad with ex-Perth Glory striker Michael Baird joining the club for the remainder of this campaign as well as for the 2011/12 season.

Six years after first inquiring about his services, the Mariners will finally see the 27-year-old in Yellow and Navy.

“When I started in the first season with the Roar, the Mariners were keen to have me here and I was looking at it.

“The Mariners have always been a club that have been developing and now when I-ve been away and come back I can look at the Mariners as a big club in Australian football. They are only going to go up in leaps and bounds and I want to be a part of that,” said Baird.

Baird is no stranger to the Hyundai A-League having being among the very first players to sign with his hometown club Queensland (now Brisbane) Roar in the first season, where he had the honour of scoring goals in both the club-s first and final games of the maiden Hyundai A-League season.

Baird was rewarded with a four-year deal with Romanian club Universitatea Craiova, where he lined up alongside his new Mariners teammate Joshua Rose, and made 67 appearances for the Romanians before ultimately linking with Perth Glory this season.

The 27-year-old says he-s excited about the opportunity that lies ahead on the Central Coast.

“From what Arnie has been telling me and from what he wants in the team I think I-ll bring some pace and directness toward goal.

“I-d like to think I-m good in the air but I-m probably not as good as Matty Simon or someone like, he-s a good battler. I-d like to think I-ve got pace and I could be the man that Perez or whoever is playing in behind can find,” said Baird.

Baird-s will join the likes of Daniel McBreen, Matt Simon and Adam Kwasnik in leading the line for the Yellow and Navy over the coming weeks, after it was revealed that a Nik Mrdja knee injury will see him out for at least the next eight weeks.

Despite that injury news, Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is excited about the arrival of Baird.

“I coached him in the Under 20-s national team back in 2003 so I know what Michael is all about. He gives us something totally different to what we have got up front. He adds a lot of depth and we are very happy he has come to the club at this stage of the season.

“Since the start of the year we-ve only had 21 or 22 players, with Brad Porter out for the season and now Mrdja (for eight weeks), we needed to strengthen the squad a little bit.

“We-re always looking to strengthen and I-m very happy with where we are at, we-re in a good position. We have a great opportunity to get second place and to add a bit of freshness into the squad at this time of year is great timing I feel, just before a heavy program,” said Arnold.

Baird will wear the number 13 jersey for the Mariners and it will be eligible to play a part in Sunday-s week 23 clash against Wellington Phoenix at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 5:00pm AEDT and tickets are available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.

Player Details

Name: Michael Baird D.O.B: 1 August 1983, Brisbane

Playing Career

2000/01 - Brisbane Lions 2001/02 - Brisbane Strikers 2002/03 - South Melbourne 2003/04 - Sydney Olympic 2004 - Queensland Lions 2004/05 - Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2005/06 - Brisbane Roar 2006-09 - Universitatea Craiova 2010/11 - Perth Glory