McKinna hopes to leave Gold Coast Beached

The Central Coast Mariners are in the midst of a four game unbeaten streak, and have lost just once in their past seven matches, making football manager Lawrie McKinna confident of extending the run with three points against the Gold Coast this Saturday.

The Central Coast Mariners are in the midst of a four game unbeaten streak, and have lost just once in their past seven matches, making football manager Lawrie McKinna confident of extending the run with three points against the Gold Coast this Saturday.

United themselves are coming off the back of a 4-nil humiliation at the hands of Melbourne Victory, and McKinna is aware tomorrow-s clash could be vital in the title race, with the potential to move clear of the chasing pack.

“Obviously if we got a win at the weekend we could have been second, but it was a hard fought draw. At the finish up, it wasn-t a great performance so we-re happy with a point.

“It-s a great opportunity for us to go up there, we beat them 3-nil last time, and we have nothing to fear, we-re looking forward to a big challenge, because it-s there for us to get second spot.

“All the results went our way and we-re in there, that-s what you want, to be in there in the top three, and we want to stay there. The only way to stay there is by winning games. We-re on a reasonable run, so there-s no reason why we can-t go up there and win,” McKinna said.

Gold Coast United remain in fourth spot but have failed to rediscover the lofty heights of their early season form, although McKinna is aware of just how competitive this season-s Hyundai A-League is.

“Gold Coast are coming off a drubbing against Melbourne, so it-s going to be hard up there, they are going to pick up.

“They-ve got class players in the team and they-ll be upset. It-s the team that got beaten but people take these things personally.

“They got beaten a few weeks ago (6-nil to Wellington) and came back and beat Sydney at home so it-s going to be a hard game. Every game is hard, (North Queensland) Fury got beaten by us then beat Adelaide 2-1 and Newcastle beating Sydney, anyone can beat anyone, so we need to be at the top of our game to get a result,” McKinna said.

The latest result in the Central Coast-s four match unbeaten streak was a scoreless draw on its return to Bluetongue Stadium, and while the side missed out on picking up all three points, McKinna can see the positives in how his team has grown over the past year.

“We didn-t play great, but we never really looked like losing. They had a couple of chances and the squad they had on the park was probably the best squad in the league at full strength. It was reasonably comfortable without playing our best.

“We-ve come a long way, last year we could have lost that 1-nil quite easily, so we reasonably comfortably came through that. You are going to have games like that where you scrap, and the two teams cancel each other out,” McKinna said.

The Mariners are expected to welcome striker Matt Simon back into the starting lineup for the clash, after returning from a minor back problem off the bench in last Friday-s stalemate.

“He-s back and is at full strength, Ahmad (Elrich) came on and did well, (Nicky) Travis came on and did well, I thought the subs played their part because I thought in the last half hour we had the upper hand and were the team that probably looked more like winning at the finish up,” said McKinna.

*Head-to-Head: Played 1: Gold Coast United wins 0, Central Coast Mariners wins 1

Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 17.Matt OSMAN, 18.James BROWN, 19.Andrew BARISIC, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 24.ANDERSON, 26.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 29.Zac ANDERSON *two to be omitted*

In: Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk) (return from thumb injury), Steve PANTELIDIS (return from suspension), Bas VAN DEN BRINK (return from suspension), Tahj MINNIECON (return from thigh injury), Kristian REES (return from suspension), Andrew BARISIC (promoted)

Out: Joel PORTER (knee injury - 2 weeks), Jerrad TYSON (gk) (not selected), Steven LUSTICA (not selected), Ben WEARING (not selected)

Unavailable: Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury - indefinite), ROBSON (knee injury - 5 weeks), JEFFERSON (knee injury - indefinite), Adama TRAORE (knee injury - 1 week)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK.

*one to be omitted*

In: Andrew CLARK (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Chris DOIG (quad - 3 weeks), Dylan MACALLISTER (leg - 1 week)

Referee: Peter Green

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, 12 December. Kick-off is at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs are available online by clicking here