Hutchinson targets hometown triumph

Victorian-born Central Coast Mariners midfield ace John Hutchinson will be hoping to build upon his solid showings of recent months against his home-state club at the Telstra Dome on Friday night.

Victorian-born Central Coast Mariners midfield ace John Hutchinson will be hoping to build upon his solid showings of recent months against his home-state club at the Telstra Dome on Friday night.

Hutchinson-s contribution will be crucial to the Mariners- chances of winning the midfield battle against their southern counterparts, who boast an attacking line up that is among the best in the Hyundai A-League.

It is the Victory that have come closest to matching the Mariners- outstanding record in front of goal throughout season four, with Ernie Merrick-s Melbourne netting 20 goals compared to the Mariners- 23.

With Brazilian import Ney Fabiano and Qantas Socceroo Archie Thompson back in the frame having served their respective suspensions and the likes of Daniel Allsopp and Carlos Hernandez offering their support, the Victory-s creative heartbeat is indeed a threatening one.

However, with Hutchinson in encouraging form alongside two of the Hyundai A-League-s standout performers of season four - Adrian Caceres and Mile Jedinak, the Mariners have reason to be confident of matching their perhaps more fancied opponents.

"Every one is going to be pumped up, if we get the result we go equal top, so hopefully we can knock them over and be sitting pretty at this stage of the season," said Hutchinson.

"I-ve got Mum and Dad coming, my sister comes along and one of my cousins is a Melbourne Victory Member, so I have to watch out for him, he says to me that he-s on our team, but he hopes the Melbourne Victory wins."

Born in Morwell in south-east Victoria, Hutchinson contributed 89 appearances and seven goals to former National Soccer League (NSL) club the Eastern Pride-s brief NSL history.

Hutchinson celebrated his 80th competitive appearance in Mariners colours against Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium last Saturday - becoming just the second Mariners player to do so after captain Alex Wilkinson.

Hutchinson will potentially directly oppose fellow foundation Mariners attacking lynchpin and current Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak on Friday.

Pondeljak joined his hometown club ahead of season four after three seasons on the Central Coast that resulted in nine goals and 66 official appearances for the Qantas Socceroo.

"Tommy is a great guy and good player, he always did well for us but he-s obviously moved on now," said Hutchinson.

"I think if we can get a draw or a win, as long as we get some form of result, that will be good for the boys and give us a lot of confidence going into the next game."

The Mariners- quest for top spot in the Hyundai A-League continues on Friday, 21 November when they travel to the Telstra Dome to face table toppers the Melbourne Victory. Kick off is at 8pm.

The Mariners are next at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 6 December when they host the Queensland Roar in Round 14. Kick off is at 6pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.