No Perez, but Simon confident ahead of Victory clash

The Central Coast Mariners may well be without exciting Argentine playmaker Patricio Perez for Friday night’s Hyundai A-League blockbuster against Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium, but Mariners striker Matt Simon is hopeful his side can do the job against the most successful club in the league’s short history.

The Central Coast Mariners may well be without exciting Argentine playmaker Patricio Perez for Friday night-s Hyundai A-League blockbuster against Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium, but Mariners striker Matt Simon is hopeful his side can do the job against the most successful club in the league-s short history.

Simon filled the attacking midfielder role successfully in the opening two matches of the Hyundai A-League season, and believes the side will be ready to put on a show for the Mariners faithful on Friday night.

Having come off two disappointing results against Wellington and Sydney, the Gosford born striker is keen to take all three points and a first home win for the season.

"It was disappointing to come away with only a point on the weekend, so we-ll definitely be looking to grab all three this week, especially at home," said Simon.

The Mariners are looking to attract a bumper crowd to Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, for what looms as the match of the round.

"I think it-s one of the best stadiums in the league and it-s always better when it-s pretty close to full, so hopefully there-s a big crowd there to cheer us on," Simon said.

Simon believes the team showed encouraging signs as it ultimately came away with a 1-all draw after a slow start against Sydney FC on Saturday.

"We had a good week of training and I think it showed on the pitch.

"After a bit of a slow start I think we picked things up well and to come back and get the goal I think we were a bit unlucky not to win it, but it was good to play a better all-round game," said Simon.

Having scored twice against the Victory last season, and twice in the corresponding fixture and Bluetongue Stadium in season four, Simon is also relishing the prospect of continuing his ongoing battle with veteran Melbourne hardman Kevin Muscat.

"It-s always good playing against "Musky", you always know what to expect, and hopefully it-s another good battle," Simon said.

The prolific frontman however faces stiff competition for a starting berth in Graham Arnold-s side this Friday night, with fellow strikers Daniel McBreen, Nik Mrdja and Adam Kwasnik all contributing to a selection headache.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium tomorrow, Friday, 3 September. Kick-off is at 8:00pm and tickets are available online by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season are still available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 15): Central Coast Mariners wins 5, Melbourne Victory wins 7 (3 draws)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 2 Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk). *two to be omitted*

In: Brad PORTER (returns from injury), Matthew LEWIS (promoted) Out: Patricio PEREZ (suspended - two weeks) Unavailable: Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *three to be omitted*

In: 17.Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted), 14. Billy CELESKI (returns from injury), 15.Tom PONDELJAK (promoted) Out: 22.Nick WARD (transferred to Wellington Phoenix) Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee), Matthew KEMP (knee)

Referee: Chris BEATH