Mariners prepared for Lightning strike

The Central Coast Mariners begin their 2010/11 campaign under the lights of Pluim Park, Lisarow this Thursday night, when they face off with New South Wales State League side Central Coast Lightning in their first Pre-Season Trial, and Mariners Assistant Coach Phil Moss insists the side will be hitting the ground running.

The Central Coast Mariners begin their 2010/11 campaign under the lights of Pluim Park, Lisarow this Thursday night, when they face off with New South Wales State League side Central Coast Lightning in their first Pre-Season Trial, and Mariners Assistant Coach Phil Moss insists the side will be hitting the ground running.

"There is plenty at stake every time you cross the white line. Players are players and coaches are coaches, and you want to win every game that you play in," said Moss.

"We don-t want to give Central Coast Lightning bragging rights on the Coast, because we-ve got everything to lose and they-ve got nothing to lose in games like this. We-re aware of that, we-re not taking the game lightly by any stretch, and just the enthusiasm the players have got for playing a proper game will see us take the right attitude onto the field."

Bar a spirited full eleven-a-side training match behind closed doors earlier in the week, this will be the first true match of the new season, and Moss says the squad is desperate to take the work they have put in during an arduous training regime into a game environment.

"The boys are jumping out of their skin to play, especially against Lightning being a local derby and something that the whole community can get behind.

"We played an 11 v 11 game at training this week and you could see the boys were relishing getting into the open spaces and playing football, because at the end of the day that is what we are preparing for, is games of football and this is our first serious hitout," said Moss.

With up to ten Pre-Season matches before the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 officially gets underway at Melbourne-s AAMI Park against the league-s newest club Melbourne Heart, Moss says it is important to take a specific approach to having players at their peak for that match on August 5.

With that in mind, Nik Mrdja and Oliver Bozanic, who both arrived at the club after Pre-Season conditioning had already begun, are likely to be given more time to reach a match fitness level.

"Those two will be doing a little bit more training before they take part in a match, but as far as we know - touch wood - everyone else is available, so we will be rotating a few players during the game.

"We have a pretty arduous Pre-Season schedule with a trip to China, so the Central Coast Lightning game and the Bankstown game will be a chance to rotate the players, give some boys the chance to show themselves and put their hands up for selection, and put some rhythm into what we are doing.

"It is a chance for some of the younger boys to show what they are capable of in this company, and there are senior boys who need to prove themselves, it-s a new coaching staff so it-s a clean slate.

"When he (Head Coach Graham Arnold) comes back he wants the players to have some form of match sharpness going into the China trip, so these two games are the perfect chances to do that," Moss said.

And after a month of being around the squad deputising for Arnold, who is on FIFA World Cup duty with the Qantas Socceroos, Moss is delighted with what he has so far seen from his troops.

"The attitude at training has been first class. It-s not the ideal situation for a Head Coach to be away for a month but he-s at the World Cup and we knew that that couldn-t be helped.

"I-ve been really delighted with the way the boys have responded to me, (fellow Assistant) Tony (Walmsley), Clarky (Head of Sports Science Andrew Clark) and JC (Goalkeeping Coach John Crawley), and we-re all here to do a job, and that is to make sure we are all at a certain level for when Arnie gets back, and I-d like to think we are on track to do that," said Moss.

The Mariners take on Central Coast Lightning for the Central Coast Challenge Cup this Thursday, 17 June at Pluim Park, Lisarow. Kick-off is at 7:30pm. A combined Central Coast Premier League "North vs. South" match will kick-off at 5:30pm. Entry is $10, with half the proceeds going to the Cancer Council-s "Call to Arms" campaign, targeting Cancer among males.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season are now available online by Clicking Here or by phoning 1300 767 442.