Mariners aim to continue unbeaten start

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna believes his side’s new defensive combination can continue its impressive start to Hyundai A-League 2009/10, and keep a Sydney FC side with plenty of goal-scoring capabilities at bay this Saturday.

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna believes his side-s new defensive combination can continue its impressive start to Hyundai A-League 2009/10, and keep a Sydney FC side with plenty of goal-scoring capabilities at bay this Saturday.

The Mariners boast a win against defending premier Melbourne Victory and a draw against local rival Newcastle through the opening two rounds, impressively, conceding just one goal in the process, the lowest of any A-League club.

"They-ll be tough to crack but we have to be just as disciplined as we have been in defence, and last week, the amount of chances we created was fantastic, on another day we would have scored three or four of them. We need to create the chances like we-ve been doing, but just bury a few more," McKinna said.

"The boys did well without (Chris Doig). He-s come in and brought that vocal bit of backup to the boys, but now he-s not there, he-s given that confidence as well. As a unit we-re now a lot more confident and obviously having two good results brings that confidence out in the boys. We might miss Doigy, but with Boogaard and Porter going back there I think we-re equally as strong."

With the Mariners again being written off by wide sections of the football public before the start of the season, McKinna-s men have again begun the season by surprising many, if not themselves.

"The boys have obviously had two good results, and then coming up against Sydney, there will be a good crowd there on Saturday afternoon and they are playing well, so we-re looking towards a great game.

"We-d have been hopeful of a draw down in Melbourne and then beating the Jets at home, and we should have beaten the Jets at home but we never. Having four points so far is alright, and coming into the Sydney game when they have won two, it-s a big challenge at the weekend, but we think we-re up for the game," McKinna said.

McKinna has named a similar squad to that which shared the spoils with Newcastle on Friday Night, new-signing Chris Doig just missing out on recovering from a calf niggle in time.

"Chris Doig will be out again but everyone else is looking OK. The mood has been good in the camp all week, training has been great as it has been since we-ve been back, so everything is aiming towards a good game," McKinna said.

And the Mariners mentor has been well impressed by what he-s seen from tomorrow-s opponents, after they registered back-to-back wins in their opening two matches, most recently a 1-nil win over Adelaide United.

"They were really disciplined, went about their game and kept plugging away. It could have gone either way before (Mark Bridge-s 77th minute goal), two good teams cancelling each other out.

"Sydney had a few good chances in the first half then made a sub, and Bridgey came on and took his opportunity so if that happens again we have to watch any boys coming off the bench and making that kind of impact," McKinna said.

Mariners fans have the chance to become the Hyundai A-League-s 5-millionth spectator at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon, should Adelaide united fail to draw the 12,161 required to pass the milestone figure tonight.

"Hopefully it-s pouring down in Adelaide, it gets washed out and only nine or 10-thousand turn up! It-d be a great thing for that to happen at Bluetongue. Adelaide had a great crowd last home game so there-s no reason why they shouldn-t have it, but you never know, some lucky person at Bluetongue on Saturday afternoon could be the five-millionth customer.

"When we play against Sydney it-s always a good atmosphere. The Cove will come up in numbers, our fans will be there in numbers to get vocally behind both teams and it should be a good spectacle," McKinna said.

In the 13 A-League meetings between the two sides, the Central Coast has registered four wins, Sydney FC six, with three draws. The most recent of which saw the Mariners register a dramatic injury time winner in a 2-1 victory at Bluetongue Stadium last December.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 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 Clark, David D'Apuzzo (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Chris DOIG (Calf, 1 week), Shane HUKE (Knee, 4-5 weeks), Adrian CACERES (Hamstring, 2 weeks)

Sydney FC squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 6. Karol KISEL, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 17. Matthew JURMAN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT. *three to be omitted*

In: 5. Mitchell PRENTICE (promoted), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (promoted), 23. Rhyan GRANT (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 2. Sebastian RYALL (suspended - 2 weeks)

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Head-to-Head: Played 13; Central Coast Mariners FC 4, Sydney FC 6, Drawn 3

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season against local rival Sydney FC is this Saturday, 22 August. Kick-off is at 3pm. Tickets 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.