McKinna counts down to kick off

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna believes all is in readiness for a successful assault on the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, with the opening match of the campaign now less than a week away.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna believes all is in readiness for a successful assault on the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, with the opening match of the campaign now less than a week away.

The Mariners kick off their quest for more silverware away to the defending champions Melbourne Victory, at Etihad Stadium, next Thursday 6 August

"It-s been a great pre-season because it-s only gone for five weeks! The boys have enjoyed it, and I-ve enjoyed it. We-ve done well, our preparation has been good, and the boys are looking good for Thursday night, so this next week is just going to fly by," said McKinna.

"Opening the League is always special. And the field (at Bluetongue) is back to its best, back to where it used to be. They-ve worked hard to get it back up, and it was fantastic today. Just training here is a big lift for the boys and great preparation going to Melbourne on Thursday.

"We-ll try a few things, we-ve got a game here between ourselves on Sunday , but we-re reasonably happy with where we-re at. The team has been playing the last couple of weeks closely (resembles the way he-ll go into Thursday), but just up front, Dylan might be fit, Matty Simon is coming back to fitness and (Nik) Mrdja is coming back from an injury as well so we-re getting pretty close.

"I-m sure the Melbourne fans will be noisy, and giving us plenty of stick, but hopefully we can give themselves some of their own medicine on Thursday night," McKinna said.

After making four key off season signings, two of those with experience in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, and one other in the English Championship, McKinna believes his squad has both the experience and depth needed to succeed over what is an extended 27 round format.

Former Nottingham Forest and Northampton Town hardman Chris Doig, ex-Celtic midfielder Michael McGlinchey, Sheffield United academy product Nicky Travis, and star of the inaugural National Youth League campaign Matthew Lewis have all signed on to join the charge in Hyundai A-League version 5.

"We-ve got 21, and we-ll probably sign one more. We-ve got a couple more trialists coming from overseas, one of whom comes highly recommended by Sheffield (United), through their relationship with Ferencvaros, so fingers crossed that something comes out of that," McKinna said.

"The squad is looking good, it-s very competitive and we have a bit of depth there."

And before the attention turns to the opening day date with the Victory, Mariners Members and Fans have the chance to wish their heroes luck for the upcoming campaign, at a massive Family Fun Day at Bluetongue Stadium this Sunday, 2 August.

As an exclusive bonus for Mariners Members, those who renew their Memberships or join up before Sunday will be given exclusive VIP access to the Mariners squad-s inner sanctum, the home team dressing room at Bluetongue Stadium, where they will be able to collect their 2009/10 official Members supporter pack.

"Last year was great, we had about 2 or 3-thousand people here and I-m sure we-ll have the same numbers this year, hopefully if it-s weather like this, it will be a great day," said McKinna.

"We-re training here first and then to the fan day for a couple of hours, to help publicise the first (home) game against the Jets on the 14th. That-s always a special game. It doesn-t matter how the teams are going, it-s passionate, the fans hate each other, players hate each other, it all comes down to the local derby."

As well as Members having exclusive access to the home-team dressing room, all fans will have the opportunity to meet the Mariners squad at a signing session, enjoy free rides and games, experience the Taronga “Zoomobile”, have their face painted, pick up some free products courtesy of Masterfoods, and go in the draw to win a slow cooker.

The Mariners Hyundai A-League 2009/10 campaign kicks off on Thursday, 6 August when they take on Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium. Kick-off is at 8pm.

The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League season is against local rival Newcastle Jets on Friday, August 14. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

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