Mrdja adds depth to impressive front line

Amidst the fanfare created by the sizzling form of Central Coast Mariners strikers Dylan Macallister, Sasho Petrovski and Matt Simon, Qantas Socceroo Nik Mrdja has been waiting in the wings hopeful of his shot at the Mariners’ starting eleven.

Amidst the fanfare created by the sizzling form of Central Coast Mariners strikers Dylan Macallister, Sasho Petrovski and Matt Simon, Qantas Socceroo Nik Mrdja has been waiting in the wings hopeful of his shot at the Mariners- starting eleven.

From his very limited time on the pitch in the Hyundai A-League, Mrdja has proven himself as one of Australia-s most lethal marksmen and coming into season four, a fully fit Mrdja was considered elementary to the Mariners- chances of success.

However, with the aforementioned trio firing on all cylinders, having each netted a brace in at least one match so far this campaign, Mrdja-s absence by virtue of his continued recovery from long-term injury has gone virtually unnoticed by Mariners Members and supporters.

With former club the Perth Glory visiting Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, Mrdja is hopeful that his chance to emulate the early season feats of his team-mates is not too far away.

"I got hit with the flu and that-s set me back a little bit, but I-m slowly getting better and making sure that everything is right, but most of all my knee is good, which is the main thing," said Mrdja.

"At the moment I-m just trying to get my fitness back, get my body right and get used to it all again, it-s been a while and I-ve got to make sure the build up is right this time and not rush things.

"It-s looking good, I-m slowly getting there and hopefully I-m in the squad for Friday."

Mrdja will go up against his former club should he be selected for Friday-s encounter at Bluetongue Stadium.

Although Mrdja has only represented one Hyundai A-League club, the Mariners, he was a key contributor to the Glory-s final National Soccer League (NSL) campaigns before enjoying a brief stint in Sweden-s Allsvenskan with AIK Solna prior to the commencement of the Hyundai A-League.

Born in Perth, Mrdja debuted for his hometown club during the 2000/01 NSL season and managed seven appearances by the end of the campaign.

The following season, Mrdja netted his first goals for the Glory and totalled three strikes from ten appearances, before a pair of breakthrough campaigns that delivered an impressive 22 goals from 56 caps, the majority of which were made from the bench and the most important of which being the last ever NSL goal - the golden goal strike that secured the Glory the 2003/04 NSL Championship.

"If we want to be up there at the end, we-ve got to get three points on Friday," said Mrdja.

"We-ve let a couple of games slip where we could have stolen three points in the last few seconds, but we-ve let it go, so it-s really important to get three points because if we don-t we-ll be with the rest of the group paddling towards the top."

The Mariners are back at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, 26 September, when they continue their Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign against the Perth Glory in Round 6. Kick off is at 8pm.

The Mariners- National Youth League team will make its first appearance in the new elite competition for Australia-s best young players before the main game, also against the Perth Glory. Kick off is at 5.15pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.