Clark has extra incentive against Fury

After making two starting appearances for the Central Coast Mariners in the past three Hyundai A-League matches, veteran defender Andrew Clark now has extra incentive to pull on the yellow and navy against North Queensland Fury at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday.

After making two starting appearances for the Central Coast Mariners in the past three Hyundai A-League matches, veteran defender Andrew Clark now has extra incentive to pull on the yellow and navy against North Queensland Fury at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday.

Should Clark be involved in Saturday-s clash, he will dedicate his performance to the latest addition to his family, after he and wife Bec celebrated the arrival of their daughter Frankie Rose earlier this week.

"A new little daughter, our first, which is great, really exciting.

"I-ve got no experience so I don-t know about the sleepless nights, I-ve had a couple so far but the bub isn-t home yet, so that-s all ahead of me," said Clark.

The arrival has proven for Clark that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining, and hopes he can channel the positive energy he has received from the birth of his first child, into helping his side climb out of its recent results slump.

"It-s been a difficult period for all the boys and we-re all digging in together to turn this around and make it a great season, but it-s a little spark of energy in my life, and I hope everybody else-s, which can help spur us on to turn it around," Clark said.

Clark has started just four times for the senior team this season, and while he can add to that tally with seven appearances off the bench, he hopes his two most recent starting eleven spots against Brisbane and Wellington can be added to despite the planned return of regular left fullback Dean Heffernan from Qantas Socceroo duty.

"If you are a player in the squad you are desperate to be in the starting eleven, and it has been difficult for me this year. Left fullback is a little bit unfamiliar but it (gives me) a chance that I-m desperate to take, make the most of it, and hopefully make me a permanent fixture in the starting eleven again," said Clark.

It-s been a difficult period for all concerned at the club, and Clark has opened up about the frustrations both recent performances, and supporter perceptions cause for the playing group.

"It hurts when you think there is a public perception out there, or even a perception within the team or the club that players want to be in this situation. The boys are desperate, we want to get out of this situation and (the upbeat mood at) training today is evidence of that, we-ve got to dig in and get this done.

"If you play team sport for long enough you know you-re going to have a few losses on the trot and confidence falls a little bit from the players, but it-s the opposite when you are winning.

"If we wipe the last few weeks out and think back to that last Fury game then we-re going to be fine. We have a great bunch of players. We just need to stick together and fight the game out, and it-ll turn for us," Clark said.

Frankie Rose-s arrival has continued somewhat of a baby boom at the Gosford club in recent times, following the birth of Hutchinson-s son in July, and with striker Dylan Macallister expecting his second in the coming months.

But, Clark insists the closeness in age between his daughter and Hutchinson-s son, will only make him more vigilant.

"It-s brilliant. I saw Hutch (John Hutchinson) yesterday and gave him a lecture that if his kid (six month old Kai) comes anywhere near my daughter that he-s going to cop it, so he-ll know from an early age that six months is too much of a difference between the kids!" Laughed Clark.

The Mariners enjoyed their biggest home crowd of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season on New Year-s Eve against Wellington Phoenix, and Clark hopes for another big home attendance for the visit of the Fury, who are likely to feature former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler, and Daniel McBreen, who will call the Central Coast home from next season.

The 35 year old hopes there-s one extra seat reserved, for the newest member of the Mariners- family to attend her first match.

"She was a pretty big baby, Frankie came out at over nine pounds. I hope there is a spot in the crowd for her. It-s a new period in my life that I-m so excited about and so happy for Bec and Frankie, my little daughter."

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against North Queensland Fury on Saturday, 9 January. Kick-off is at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.