Friendly fire for Fury

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna will have a familiar voice in his ear this Sunday afternoon, but for the first time in seven years, he won’t be listening to it.

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna will have a familiar voice in his ear this Sunday afternoon, but for the first time in seven years, he won-t be listening to it.

Rangers legend Ian Ferguson was first McKinna-s star signing at Northern Spirit, before moving to the coaches bench a season later, where he was the Spirit and Mariners manager-s right hand man right up until moving north to join the Fury at the end of the last Hyundai A-League campaign.

Now managing the fledgling franchise, the instructions screamed out by Ferguson on Sunday will be designed to hinder, rather than help his former boss.

"It-ll be good to see Fergie (Ian Ferguson) and Stewart Petrie coming back, to the club, Stewart was here for two years and Fergie was here for four, and were big parts of the history of the club, and it will be great catching up with them at the weekend. Before the game we-ll have a hug and after the game we-ll have a hug, but we-ll probably be abusing each other during the game!" McKinna laughed.

"When we played up in Rockhampton in pre-season it was strange, he being on the other bench. It was only a few months before that we were shouting the same stuff from our bench. It was good afterwards, and it-s always good to see old pals, so I-m looking forward to catching up with him after the game."

North Queensland may be rooted to the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder after nine rounds, but are ever improving, and took a point from one of the longest road trips in domestic football worldwide, a 1-all draw in Perth.

"Going to Perth and getting any result is hard, but getting it with ten men for so long was a credit to them. They were probably a bit lucky with the goal they got, it was probably a free kick, but they took it, and credit to them.

"They-ve been picking up results over the last couple of months and doing alright, so they-re going to be hard to break down," said McKinna.

The two teams have met once before albeit in a pre-season trial with both sets of squads laden with trialists. Even so, McKinna is aware of what to expect from Sunday-s opponent.

"We have to go into the game at the weekend with a competitive edge, because the Fury are quite physical. We played them in pre-season and it was a very physical game, so we need to match them in that side of it.

"They-ve been playing some good football, and so have we, so hopefully we can beat them over the 90 minutes," said McKinna.

If the Fury is to get a result in Gosford, one man is sure to play a major part. Robbie Fowler is arguably the greatest talent to grace the Hyundai A-League in its five seasons to date, with an enviable record of 230 goals in over 500 appearances during a 16 year professional career in the United Kingdom.

"His record, especially at Liverpool is second to none, and he-s out here and doing well. For boys like that to come out here and put something back into the game is great, and hopefully as many people as they can get out here, even non football people have heard of Robbie Fowler for all the good things - and a couple of bad things - I-m sure there will be a lot of Liverpool shirts in the crowd showing respect to the guy.

"They-ve got more than Fowler in the team, big (Daniel) McBreen is doing well, but it will be great for (the Mariners- defenders) to come up and rub shoulders against him and hopefully keep a clean sheet at Bluetongue," McKinna said.

After failing to trouble the scorers in their past two away matches, the Mariners return home for the first time since putting three past league leader Gold Coast United, and welcome back striker Matt Simon, who will be out to impress after shoring up his future this week, by signing on with the Mariners for a further two seasons.

"Matty will be back. Dylan Macallister and Nik Mrdja have picked up little knocks but Matt Simon is definitely back. We-re obviously going to be without (Michael) McGlinchey and (John) Hutchinson, which opens the door for a few other midfielders, so we-ll restructure things and have a go at the weekend.

"Shane Huke is back from injury now as well, (Matthew) Crowell-s there, (Brad) Porter-s there and Ahmad (Elrich) is there so we-ve got plenty of cover," McKinna said.

As if the visit of a former coach, the club-s leading goalscorer in season one and a football legend isn-t enough, fans will have plenty of other activities to keep them entertained.

EnergyAustralia Kids Free Day sees up to 2,000 primary school aged children admitted free with a valid Kids Free Day ticket, while the Taronga ZOOmobile, a Surf Life Saving Central Coast relay at half time, and the spectacular arrival and launch of the club-s brand new mascot will mean a day not to forget for what is hoped will be a huge crowd.

Add on a footballing double header featuring the Central Coast Mariners Westfield W-League side taking on Adelaide United from 12:15pm, and Sunday is set to be one of the biggest days on the club-s calendar.

"Kids Free day for EnergyAustralia is fantastic, and it-s a great game to pick when you-ve got one of the legends of the game here. A lot of these young kids would have never seen Robbie Fowler play, but if they go on "YouTube" and type in Robbie Fowler I-m sure they-ll realise how big of a player this is," McKinna said.

The Central Coast Mariners Westfield W-League team take on Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium this Sunday, 10 October at 12:15pm, before the Hyundai A-League side clashes with North Queensland Fury. Gates open at 12:00pm, and the main game kicks off at 3:00pm.

Tickets for this match are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK *two to be omitted*

In: Andrew REDMAYNE (return from international duty), Matthew CROWELL (promoted), David D'APUZZO (promoted), Ahmad ELRICH (promoted), Matt SIMON (return from injury)

Out: John HUTCHINSON (international duty), Michael McGLINCHEY (international duty), Matthew RYAN (gk) (not selected)

Unavailable: Nil

North Queensland Fury squad: 1.Paul HENDERSON (GK), 2.Robbie MIDDLEBY, 3.Chris TADROSSE, 4.Scott WILSON, 7.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 9.Robbie FOWLER (c), 10. Jeremy BROCKIE, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Jack HINGERT, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Fred AGIUS, 18. James ROBINSON, 19. Daniel MCBREEN, 20. Justin PASFIELD (GK), 21. John TAMBOURAS, 22. Osama MALIK, 24. Dyron DAAL. 23. Rostyn GRIFFITHS *three to be omitted*

In: Rostyn GRIFFITHS (promoted), David Williams (promoted) Osama MALIK, Jeremy BROCKIE

Out: Ufuk TALAY (suspended), Shane STEFANUTTO (knee - indefinite), Paul KOHLER (not selected)

Unavailable: Jacob TIMPANO (hamstring - indefinite), Karl DODD (Knee - 5 weeks)

Referee: Ryan Shepheard