Mariners aim to spoil Gold Coast’s “Beach Party”

Gold Coast United is expecting its biggest ever crowd for Sunday’s third vs. fourth Hyundai A-League blockbuster with the Central Coast Mariners, but Mariners’ Head Coach Graham Arnold says his side will be going all out to silence a crowd of what could be in excess of 20-thousand.

Gold Coast United is expecting its biggest ever crowd for Sunday-s third vs. fourth Hyundai A-League blockbuster with the Central Coast Mariners, but Mariners- Head Coach Graham Arnold says his side will be going all out to silence a crowd of what could be in excess of 20-thousand.

United owner Clive Palmer has thrown open the gates for the clash in appreciation of FFA Chairman and CEO Ben Buckley-s efforts in bidding for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Arnold says his charges are excited about playing in front of a backed “Beach”.

“It-s going to be great and you have to give full credit to Clive Palmer, it-s a wonderful gesture to Frank Lowy and what he has done for football in Australia with the World Cup bid.

“The boys will be very happy to play in front of 10-12 thousand or hopefully more people on the weekend because last time we played there there was only about two thousand and it-s hard to play in those type of circumstances,” said Arnold.

The Mariners are under no illusions about how tough the clash will be, as the Yellow and Navy aim to leapfrog their Coastal rivals into third spot with victory.

Gold Coast is coming off the back of a 2-nil loss to Newcastle in midweek and Arnold hopes that may have an effect on their performance tomorrow.

“When you come up your direct opponents every game is six points but there are still 12 games for us to go until the end of the season, they had a tough game in midweek against Newcastle and the last time we played them it was in reverse. We have got a full week of training this week to prepare for the game, they had Newcastle in a very tough game and I think come Sunday we will be fresh and ready to go but they may have the mental and physical fatigue,” said Arnold.

The Mariners opted to fly directly back from Perth after Sunday-s 1-all draw with the Glory, to give the players the greatest recovery time possible ahead of this weekend-s trip north.

“A Perth trip is never easy so we got the Red-Eye flight to get home as quickly as possible then had Monday and Tuesday off, and they know what the score is, we-re sitting well at the moment in fourth spot.

“Our goal at the start of the year was to get into the top six and it still is but I think we can put a bit of pressure on Adelaide even in second spot knowing that we have to play them twice and at the same time they have to play their nemesis in Melbourne Victory twice, so there-s a long way to go yet and we start this weekend with a tough one against Gold Coast,” said Arnold.

Daniel McBreen returned to the Mariners squad for the trip west last weekend after suspension and with John Hutchinson returning to training today after picking up a minor knock to his knee, the depth of the Mariners is looking good heading into this match, followed by five massive home games over Christmas and New Year, beginning on Wednesday night against North Queensland Fury at Bluetongue Stadium.

“It-s great at the moment. I-ve got a few headaches with Perez coming back and you saw the bench with McBreen and Chris Doig who are doing extremely well as well, John Hutchinson will be in there as well and we have a full quota of players at the moment, the only one out is Brad Porter for anything long term. We have another 20 players to choose from, everyone is fit and raring to go and we-re going to need everyone over the Christmas break and into the next busy period,” said Arnold.

The Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Gold Coast United this Sunday, 19 December at Skilled Park. Kick-off is at 4:00pm QST (5:00pm AEDT) and entry is FREE.

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 3, FS3 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partner is 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford).

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 5): Gold Coast United wins 2, Central Coast Mariners wins 1 (2 draws)

Gold Coast United: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 18.James BROWN, 20.Scott HIGGINS [gk], 22.Adama TRAORE, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 24.John CURTIS, 32.Steven LUSTICA. *three to be omitted*

In: 10.Jason CULINA (return from knee injury), 16.Kristian REES (return from suspension), 24.John CURTIS (promoted). Out: Nil. Unavailable: ROBSON (knee injury - 1 week), Chris BROADFOOT (knee injury - 6 weeks), Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury - indefinite), Matt OSMAN (knee injury - indefinite).

Central Coast Mariners: 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk). *one to be omitted*

In: Matthew LEWIS (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: John HUTCHINSON (knee - 1 week), Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)

Referee: Chris Beath