Mariners arrive in Wellington and set sights on three points

The Central Coast Mariners arrived in Wellington in the very early hours of this morning minus key striker Dylan Macallister, but hungry for three Hyundai A-League points.

The Central Coast Mariners arrived in Wellington in the very early hours of this morning minus key striker Dylan Macallister, but hungry for three Hyundai A-League points.

Macallister, who made a stunning Hyundai A-League debut that included two goals away to the Queensland Roar a fortnight ago, was a late withdrawal from the Mariners' travelling party due to illness.

Though Macallister's loss is a blow to the Mariners' chances of a second consecutive Hyundai A-League triumph, the yellow and navy can still call upon fellow standout attackers Sasho Petrovski and Matt Simon up front, while Adrian Caceres' return from injury is another major positive.

The Mariners trained at Wellington's Newtown Park this morning and all players emerged from their light run on a sunny afternoon in the New Zealand capital unscathed and focused on the job at hand.

"Over the last few weeks we-ve had eight or nine boys come down with the flu and Dylan started feeling not too well yesterday morning, so we delayed his flight until tonight, but unfortunately the doctors recommended that he didn-t travel," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"It-s unfortunate because Dylan came off the bench in his first Hyundai A-League game and what a debut it was with two goals - he-ll be missed but Adrian Caceres is back in the squad.

"We definitely want to win, they-ve come out in the papers today and said that they-ve got a lot to prove and that they-re very focused on getting back on track because the last game was a disappointing performance by them.

"You never get an easy game here and they-ll be out to get three points, the Wellington fans really get behind them and they are a noisy bunch, so we-ll be doing all we can to keep them quiet."

While Macallister-s withdrawal complicates matters for McKinna going forward, it is at the opposite end of the pitch where the Mariners- line up is perhaps most impressive.

With guest player and Qantas Socceroo icon Mark Bosnich in line for his second Hyundai A-League start in front of a backline that will potentially include Mariners veteran Andrew Clark, who is two games shy of his 75th competitive appearance for his home town club, and youth international foursome Pedj Bojic, Nigel Boogaard, David D-Apuzzo and Alex Wilkinson, the Mariners- goal is in safe hands.

The return of Qantas Socceroo Mile Jedinak to the Mariners- line up for their Round 3 triumph over the Queensland Roar was a major factor in the Central Coast-s memorable 4-2 win and Jedinak is again expected to feature in a midfield boosted by the return of former Melbourne Victory flyer Caceres.

"Obviously we-ve got a bit of confidence after our result against the Queensland Roar and hopefully we can take that into the game tomorrow," said Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson.

"We played the Phoenix in the Pre-Season Cup and they played quite well, they-re very good going forward, they-ve got a lot of quick boys in the front third so we-ll have to be mindful of that and they-re going to be looking for a good result tomorrow after a very disappointing performance against Adelaide United.

"The week off has probably given them time to work on the things that they need to work on and I-m sure they-re going to be a completely different prospect as to what they were two weeks previous - it-s going to be a tough game."

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign continues against the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday, 14 September. Kick off is at 3pm AEST.

The Mariners are next at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 20 September, when they host season two Champions and Premiers the Melbourne Victory in Round 5. Kick off is at 7pm.

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

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at