Mariners 'buzzing' ahead of Wellington raid
The Central Coast Mariners have been boosted by the return of midfield ace Adrian Caceres for Sunday’s crucial match up away to the Wellington Phoenix, where the Mariners will be aiming to register back-to-back Hyundai A-League triumphs.
The Central Coast Mariners have been boosted by the return of midfield ace Adrian Caceres for Sunday-s crucial match up away to the Wellington Phoenix, where the Mariners will be aiming to register back-to-back Hyundai A-League triumphs.
Having recorded their breakthrough win of the campaign against the Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium a fortnight ago, confidence is high within the Mariners camp ahead of the ever challenging trip across the Tasman.
With Caceres bolstering the Mariners- attacking stocks in response to Ahmad Elrich-s withdrawal for the remainder of the campaign due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear, the Mariners are well placed to add to their Hyundai A-League points tally.
Aside from Caceres- inclusion, the Mariners have also added giant defender Paul O-Grady to an extended 16-man travelling party that will arrive in Wellington on Friday night - two days out from kick off - to best assist the Central Coast with their preparations.
Joining long-term injury concern Elrich at home will be Andre Gumprecht, Dean Heffernan and Greg Owens, each of whom have progressed with their respective injuries but are not expected to return to competitive action by the end of the month.
The second round of Danny Vukovic-s five-match suspension means that guest player Mark Bosnich is likely to retain his place in the Mariners- goal, while Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has been presented with a welcome headache at the opposite end of the pitch.
Strikers Dylan Macallister, Sasho Petrovski and Matt Simon have each netted a pair of goals already this season, with competition for places at the pointy end of the Mariners- starting eleven at an all-time high.
"I don-t think there-s ever a good time to have a break, but the boys have freshened up and they-ve come back buzzing this week, which is great," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.
"Adrian Caceres is back from injury and he probably would have been struggling last week if he had to play, which strengthens the squad again, so the boys are looking OK.
"We-re all hungry coming into another game now and it-s great to get back into it, everyone-s just looking forward to going to New Zealand and getting a result."
McKinna will be looking to add to his exceptional record in matches across the Tasman when leading his charges against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
Since McKinna first took charge of a club belonging to the top tier of Australian football, the Mariners- foundation Football Manager has not once lost or drawn a regular season fixture in New Zealand from six attempts.
McKinna first travelled to New Zealand in February 2003 with the Northern Spirit, who recorded a 3-1 win, a feat they would emulate the season after with a 2-0 triumph.
Once with the Mariners, McKinna added three consecutive victories over the New Zealand Knights in Auckland to his tally, before notching a 2-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix in 2007/08.
Sunday-s match up between the Mariners and the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium marks the sixth occasion the two sides have met in all competitions.
Prior to the Phoenix-s 1-0 triumph at the venue for Sunday-s match in the opening round of the recently completed 2008 Pre-Season Cup, the Mariners had enjoyed faultless success against their Trans Tasman counterparts, having returned four straight wins from the first four meetings between the two clubs.
In total, the Mariners have slotted nine goals past the Phoenix in five previous meetings and have conceded just two - both of which have been scored at Westpac Stadium.
All-time leading Mariners goal scorer Adam Kwasnik, now with the Phoenix, has scored the most goals in matches between the Mariners and Wellington - three.
"We went over there in the Pre-Season Cup and the Phoenix did very well, their pre-season form was great," said McKinna.
"Every game we-ve played in New Zealand has always been hard, it doesn-t matter who the teams we-ve played have been going, it-s just a difficult place to go and get points.
"We-ll have to be just as good, if not better than we were against Queensland."
Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Westpac Stadium - Sunday, 14 September 2008, Kick off 3pm AEST
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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 - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.