Heffernan back and ready for Roar

The Central Coast Mariners will welcome back Qantas Socceroo Dean Heffernan to selection calculations at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, with the 28-year-old defender having served his recent two-match suspension.

The Central Coast Mariners will welcome back Qantas Socceroo Dean Heffernan to selection calculations at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, with the 28-year-old defender having served his recent two-match suspension.

Heffernan-s likely return to the Mariners- starting eleven is a welcome boost to the Central Coast-s chances of a positive result in Brisbane, with the experience and presence of one of the Bluetongue Stadium favourites sure to blunt the Queensland Roar-s in-form front line.

"I-m very excited to be getting back to playing, it-s been a couple of weeks since my last game, so I-m really looking forward to hopefully getting a run," said Heffernan.

"I really do think that Queensland are going to be under a little bit of pressure, they-re at home and they-ll most likely have a big crowd there.

"We-ve got as good a chance as any to come back from this deficit and if we can make the most of our opportunities early on in the game, it could really change the way that things pan out."

Heffernan notched his first appearance for the senior national team in Jakarta a fortnight ago - capping a whirlwind week for the Mariners- season one standout that began with his sending off against the Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome in the penultimate round of the regular season.

Heffernan is now one of five current Mariners squad members with a Socceroos cap to his name and one of fifteen Mariners squad members to have worn green and gold at restricted age or senior level.

Having fully recovered from a serious leg break suffered in December 2007, Heffernan looms as a key contributor to the remainder of the Mariners- Final Series campaign and upcoming AFC Champions League tilt.

"Playing for the Socceroos was something that I-ve dreamed of all of my life, I was really happy to get a cap and to now come back and focus on the Finals Series," said Heffernan.

"We did it last year - we came back from 2-0 down and we-ve done it on numerous occasions this year, so I think being 2-0 down, although it-s not good, if we look at what we-ve done in the past, we know that we-re more than capable of getting a result."

The Mariners- bid for a berth in the Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final will continue at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, 13 February, when they again take on the Queensland Roar in the Minor Semi Final - 2nd Leg. Kick off is at 8.30pm AEDT.

The Mariners will next be at Bluetongue Stadium for the opening match of their maiden Asian adventure - an AFC Champions League 2009 clash against Korean FA Cup winners Pohang Steelers on Wednesday, 11 March.

Ticketing information for Mariners Members and supporters will be made available in the coming weeks.