Mariners arrive in Japan

CENTRAL Coast Mariners have arrived in Japan, and the focus is now well and truly on Wednesday’s clash with Nelsinho Baptista’s Group H leaders, Kashiwa Reysol.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners- attention shifts from Hyundai A-League action to its 2013 AFC Champions League campaign for the first half of this week, with Graham Arnold-s men travelling to Japan to take on 2011 J-League winners Kashiwa Reysol.

The Mariners arrived in the land of the rising sun on Monday afternoon and will train at the Hitachi Soccer Stadium in downtown Kashiwa on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday-s fixture.

Mariners- midfielder Nick Montgomery said that while the team is disappointed to have lost to Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League at the weekend, the focus is now well and truly on Wednesday-s clash with Nelsinho Baptista-s Group H leaders.

“We were all bitterly disappointed with the result against Sydney because that-s two weeks on the run now where we-ve probably had the best of both games,” Montgomery said.

“We should of, could of, won both games (but) we ended up with no points, obviously we-re disappointed with that and losing two back to back.”

“But that-s gone now and we-re all confident and positive that we can still end the season on a high and coming to Japan is a chance to put the league behind us and start afresh,” he said.

Montgomery featured in Central Coast-s first match of this year-s edition of Asia-s premier Club competition against Korea Republic-s Suwon Bluewings in Gosford last month.

He said the Mariners know Kashiwa will provide a stern test at their compact home complex.

“The fact they are in this competition means they will be a good side,” he said.

“We have no doubt it-s going to be a tough game, but we-ve come here prepared. We-ve brought a squad of players that are all desperate to play so I am sure whatever team Arnie (Graham Arnold) picks will go out there and give it their best shot against what will be a technically good team and a good test for us.”

Approximately 8,000 fans are expected to venture to Reysol-s boutique Stadium for the match, among them some 30 nomadic Mariners supporters.

The match will be shown exclusively live in Australia on FOX SPORTS 3 & 3HD, before the Mariners focus returns to their Hyundai A-League home game against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

“We concentrate on each game as it comes and I think the game coming on Wednesday night is a big game. Probably after Wednesday we-ll sit down and reflect on the week that has just passed,” Montgomery concluded.

Central Coast Mariners' 17-man squad in Japan is: 1. Mathew RYAN (Gk), 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 8. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 9. Bernie IBINI, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 13. Brent GRIFFITHS, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 15. Brad MCDONALD, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Anthony CACERES, 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 19. Mitchell DUKE, 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 24. Hayden MORTON, 29. Nick FITZGERALD

Kashiwa Reysol vs. Central Coast Mariners - 2013 AFC Champions League Matchday 2 Wednesday 13 March, 2013 Hitachi Soccer Stadium, Kashiwa Kick-off: 7:00pm (local); 9:00pm (AEST) Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag is #KRvCCM Television: The game will be shown EXCLUSIVELY LIVE on FOX SPORTS 3 & 3HD on Wednesday evening from 9:00pm AEST.

Central Coast Mariners fans planning to travel to the Hitachi Soccer Stadium in Kashiwa for the match can view venue information here.