Osman primed for midfield battle

The midfield battle between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night promises to be an eye-catching feature of the Mariners’ second derby in as many weeks and the contribution Matthew Osman looms as large an any.

The midfield battle between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night promises to be an eye-catching feature of the Mariners- second derby in as many weeks and the contribution Matthew Osman looms as large an any.

Osman is likely to line up in a Mariners midfield that could also potentially include Adrian Caceres, Andre Gumprecht, John Hutchinson, Mile Jedinak and Bradley Porter, all of whom have significant derby experience and are proven match winners in yellow and navy.

Opposing the Mariners will be the likes of Alex Brosque, Shannon Cole, Steve Corica, Terry McFlynn and Stuart Musialik - each capped by their country at youth or senior levels and boasting 275 Hyundai A-League appearances between them.

However, the Mariners midfield contingent are in a confident mood, particularly after one of their most convincing performances of season four at home the Newcastle Jets last Friday - and are certain to relish the challenge offered by their southern counterparts on Saturday.

"It was a good result last Friday, the boys battled hard and got the goal - it-s always hard against the Jets and to get a win against them at home was a big buzz and hopefully we can take that form into this weekend-s game," said Osman.

"We lift for every game, but these games against Sydney FC, which is also classified as a derby, the boys want to get out there and give a good performance.

"We got done the last time around, so hopefully we can get one over them this time."

Indeed, Osman is one of the unsung heroes of the Mariners- season four campaign to date and is in line to face Sydney FC for the first time in the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season on Saturday.

Osman has started seven of the Mariners- nine Hyundai A-League matches so far in season four and has appeared off the substitutes bench on one occasion - marking an inspired comeback to form for a player that missed the majority of season three after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear.

Osman-s presence in the Mariners line up has coincided with some of the yellow and navy-s strongest performances this season, with the Mariners losing only one match to feature their foundation youth international.

One of Osman-s most memorable moments in Mariners colours was in a match against Sydney FC in the 2007 Pre-Season Cup at Canberra Stadium - Osman striking a superb left footed drive from considerable distance to contribute to a 3-0 triumph for the yellow and navy.

"I-ve been happy, I-m trying to get into some consistent form and trying to get some consistency from my football and I-ve been lucky enough to have been playing in the team every week," said Osman.

"Sydney are always difficult at home, they-ve come off a good win down in Melbourne, so it-s going to be a tough contest and one that we-re looking forward to."

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League campaign continues at the Sydney Football Stadium home of southern rivals Sydney FC on Saturday, 1 November. Kick off is at 7pm.

The Mariners will return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 15 November, when they host AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United. Kick off is at 7.30pm.

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