Mariners hungry for 'Cake Tin' challenge

Acutely aware of the threat Phoenix pose on their home patch - colloquially known as the 'Cake Tin' - Arnold believes the combination that secured victory against the purple-whites can return successful from the land of the long white cloud.

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold has rewarded each of the 15 players who took part in the club's Hyundai A-League round 4 win against Perth Glory, plus Brad Porter, with a place on the plane to face Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tomorrow night.

Acutely aware of the threat Phoenix pose on their home patch - colloquially known as the 'Cake Tin' - Arnold believes the combination that secured victory against the purple-whites can return successful from the land of the long white cloud.

“We-ve just about got a full squad to choose from, with Stuart Musialik unfortunately still a couple of weeks away from being available,” Arnold said. “So, almost everyone-s fit and raring to go.”

“You-ve got to worry about them [Wellington] collectively.”

“Obviously in New Zealand they-re a much tougher proposition than away from home. They-ve had two losses on the trot and I think in both losses they have been a bit hard done by. Against Melbourne Victory they were clearly the better side, so it-s going to be a difficult game, but we-re ready.”

With his team flying to New Zealand today, Arnold said his defensive triangle of captain Alex Wilkinson, Dutchman Patrick Zwaanswijk, and Rostyn Griffiths, would be key to his sides chances.

These players, Arnold noted, would need to be on their toes against the Phoenix-s tricky Spanish midfielder Dani Sanchez, hard working striker Chris Greenacre, and wily midfielder Tim Brown.

“I think that when him [Alex Wilkinson] and Patrick [Zwaanswijk] and Rostyn Griffiths are playing well in a triangle at the back, we are very hard to beat and also very hard physically to get over the top of.”

“We didn-t play against Sanchez [in pre-season], but he looks a useful player. Chris Greenacre works extremely hard and leads the line well for them … and Tim Brown makes great runs in the box late, so you-d have to say he-s someone else we-ll need to look out for.”

With John Hutchinson this week returning to the Mariners following his stint with Chinese Super League side, Chengdu Blades, Arnold also moved to welcome the fan favourite back to the club.

“It-s great to have him back. He-s a leader, he-s a clubman, and he-s part of the culture of this club.”

“He-s largely responsible for the environment that this club-s got, and the culture within the team.”

The Mariners' last meeting with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium ended in 3-nil victory to the yellow and navy.

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Brad Porter, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 8. Rostyn Griffiths, 9. Bernie Ibini, 10. Adriano Pellegrino, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 12. Troy Hearfield, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 19. Matt Simon, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 22. Mustafa Amini *one to be omitted*

In: 5. Brad Porter (Promoted)

Out: 7. Josh Hutchinson (Omitted), 15. Brad McDonald (Omitted), 16. Trent Sainsbury (Omitted), 17. Michael Baird (Omitted), 21. Sam Gallagher (Omitted), 23. Adam Kwasnik (Omitted)

Unavailable: 13. Stuart Musialik (Adductor - 2 weeks)