McKinna’s troops ready to unleash Fury

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has backed his squad to snap a five game losing streak this Saturday night when they face North Queensland Fury at Bluetongue Stadium, and return to the top half of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has backed his squad to snap a five game losing streak this Saturday night when they face North Queensland Fury at Bluetongue Stadium, and return to the top half of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

The Mariners haven-t tasted success since they last faced this weekend-s opponents, and on that occasion, the Yellow and Navy recorded it-s greatest ever triumph, a 5-1 demolition in Townsville just over a month ago.

McKinna is confident his side can return to the form which saw them score 13 goals in a five week period, and culminated in the big win over the Fury.

"At that time everything we hit was going in, but now we-re missing from six yards out, two yards out, so we need to get back to that, work hard at clinical finishing," said McKinna.

"That wasn-t an easy game up there by any means, it was a very tough game but on the night we took our chances very well.

"It-s not all doom and gloom. Obviously we-re disappointed and the players are hurting bad as we know the fans are, but one win and everything changes. It doesn-t change the past five weeks but it does change the confidence levels, and changes all the negatives into positives."

The Central Coast was again left to rue missed opportunities in its latest outing, a 2-nil loss to Wellington Phoenix, but McKinna has been more than impressed with the efforts of his charges on the training pitch this week, as they desperately try to turn their fortunes around.

"In the second half at the weekend we dropped our bundle a bit after the penalty went in, again after having chance after chance in the first half, and that was the disappointing thing.

"After five straight losses it has certainly affected the players, but it-s up to us now, we need to stand up and show what we can do.

"If today is any sign of that, it was probably the best training session the boys have put in for a long while, they were sharp, eager and very clinical, so hopefully there are good things to come," said McKinna.

A major positive for the Yellow and Navy will be the return of Danny Vukovic and Dean Heffernan from Qantas Socceroo duty, the latter scoring his debut goal in just his second appearance in green and gold in the 2-all AFC Asian Cup qualifier draw with Kuwait, Nigel Boogaard from suspension, and veteran defender Chris Doig, who has been missing for over two months with a quadriceps injury.

"They are all back in contention and Chris Doig is as well so there-s four quality players coming in. In that first half, although Wellington had a couple of chances, we had enough chances to go and win the game without those guys, and that-s the frustrating thing, but they are definitely four strong additions coming into the squad," said McKinna.

McKinna has paid tribute to the Bluetongue faithful which turned out in season record numbers for the New Year-s Eve clash with Wellington, and he hopes a similar crowd will be on hand to help spur his side on to its second home win of the season.

"I know a lot are disappointed and there were a few boos, and fans vent their frustration in any way they feel is right, but it makes a difference to us when the Coastie Boys and all the families are still clapping the boys off and realising we-re going through a hard time, we really appreciate that, and it will make a big difference on Saturday night when everybody gets behind us," McKinna said.

*Head-to-heads: Played 2: Central Coast Mariners wins 1, North Queensland Fury wins 0 (1 draw)

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, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 22. Nicky TRAVIS *one to be omitted*

In: Dean HEFFERNAN (returns from international duty), Danny VUKOVIC (returns from international duty), Nigel BOOGAARD (returns from suspension), Chris DOIG (returns from injury)

Out: Panny NIKAS (not selected), Matthew RYAN (not selected), Matthew LEWIS (not selected)

Unavailable: Shane HUKE (quadriceps - 1 week), Ahmad ELRICH (ankle - 1 week)

North Queensland Fury squad: 1.Paul HENDERSON (GK), 2.Robbie MIDDLEBY, 3. Chris TADROSSE, 7.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 9.Robbie FOWLER (c), 10.Jeremy BROCKIE, 13. Beau BUSCH, 14.Chris GROSSMAN, 16. Paul KOHLER, 19.Daniel MCBREEN, 20. Justin PASFIELD (GK), 24 Dyron DAAL, 25 Grant SMITH, 26 Matt SMITH, 27 Terry COOKE

In: Nil

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Shane STEFANUTTO (knee - indefinite), Scott WILSON (knee - indefinite), James ROBINSON (knee- indefinite), Ufuk TALAY (calf: 4-6 weeks), David WILLIAMS (hamstring 4-6 weeks)

Referee: Ryan SHEPHEARD

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against North Queensland Fury on Saturday, 9 January. Kick-off is at 7:00pm. Tickets for this match are available online at or by phoning 132 849.