Mariners’ midfield maestro back on deck

He was born in Wellington and grew up in Glasgow, but this Saturday night, Michael McGlinchey will be fighting for sand, surf and success, as the Mariners clash with Hyundai A-League newcomer Gold Coast United, in the battle of the beaches.

He was born in Wellington and grew up in Glasgow, but this Saturday night, Michael McGlinchey will be fighting for sand, surf and success, as the Mariners clash with Hyundai A-League newcomer Gold Coast United, in the battle of the beaches.

McGlinchey was absent from the Central Coast-s 1-nil loss to Adelaide, after making his international debut in New Zealand-s 3-1 victory over Jordan in Amman last week.

Despite that experience, McGlinchey is desperate to return to the trenches with his Mariners teammates for "Surf Wars", to help the yellow and navy claim bragging rights in the clash of the Coasts.

"To get your first game as a national player is really exciting, and is something I-ve always dreamed of doing, so it is really good that it came.

"(I was) disappointed to miss the Adelaide game, I think I was the only guy in the (New Zealand) squad to have missed their game by the way, so I was really disappointed about that, but I-m looking forward to playing the Gold Coast, obviously they are leading the league so far, so it will be good to play against them," McGlinchey said.

McGlinchey may have only played 45 minutes of the All Whites win, but it doesn-t mean he-s dropped out of Ricki Herbert-s thoughts for the crucial two-legged FIFA World Cup playoff against Bahrain in October and November.

The diminutive midfielder was sacrificed at half time, after Auckland City defender Ivan Vicelich was sent off, meaning a re-shuffle, with Herbert keen to introduce another defender.

"It was good. There were some really experienced players there, (Blackburn captain) Ryan Nelsen and (Plymouth striker) Rory Fallon, who are playing in England in the top flights so it was really good. I think I learned a lot from the experience.

"That-s what it was all about, to get a taste of being in that end of the world and playing that kind of team, so I think it will hold us in good stead to play Bahrain,” said McGlinchey.

McGlinchey is expected to slot back into the Mariners- midfield for Saturday-s huge clash against the competition frontrunners, with John Hutchinson potentially moving back to the left hand side.

If the Central Coast is able to nullify the attacking power of Shane Smeltz, Jason Culina and co, and take victory, they could move to within two points of the top of the table.

"They are the two players you have to try to watch, and obviously the gaffer will try to work a game plan around that, but I think we have enough good players so that we can cause an upset.

"The last game I played against was Perth and we had a good win, so hopefully I can kick on from that and have another good game against the Gold Coast," McGlinchey said.

The Mariners aren-t exactly in foreign waters either, having dominated for 80 minutes in a pre-season trial, before coming away with a 2-all draw against Miron Bleiberg-s men at Skilled Park in July, co-incidentally, McGlinchey-s first taste of football in Australia.

The Mariners next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Gold Coast United on Saturday, 19 September. Kick-off is at 7:30pm. Tickets for this match are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.