Owens targets first start on Sunday

The Central Coast Mariners’ mounting injury and suspension toll, coupled with some solid form in the National Youth League (NYL), has put dynamic midfield ace Greg Owens in the frame for his first start of the campaign on Sunday.

The Central Coast Mariners- mounting injury and suspension toll, coupled with some solid form in the National Youth League (NYL), has put dynamic midfield ace Greg Owens in the frame for his first start of the campaign on Sunday.

Owens has been a virtual cornerstone of the Mariners- maiden NYL campaign to date - starting eleven matches and appearing off the bench once to lead the race for the Mariners- NYL golden boot with three strikes.

However, appearances and goals in the Hyundai A-League is what is most craved by Owens and Sunday-s potentially season defining clash against Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium would provide an ideal platform for the 27-year-old to make his belated return to Australia-s top flight.

"I think I-ve I-ve been improving every week in the NYL and I-d love the opportunity to get on this week," said Owens.

"Playing in the NYL has been good for my confidence, I know that playing for the first team will be a step up, but if I get on there I-ll do the job, if not, I-ll do a job in the NYL again.

"It-s been a frustrating couple of years for me, especially coming off a decent season with Adelaide before coming here, I-ve got a lot to prove to the fans and to Lawrie as well.

"It feels as though I-ve let a lot of people down and the boys, but at the end of the day you can-t help what happens, I-ve just got to get on with it and now I think that I-m starting to get there."

Owens- potential first start of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season will be fittingly against his former club, Adelaide United.

The Reds were the first team to introduce one of Australia-s most celebrated youth internationals to the Hyundai A-League, with former Adelaide coach John Kosmina handing Owens his first Hyundai A-League cap off the bench against Sydney FC in the 2006 Major Semi Final - 2nd Leg at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Owens contributed 23 appearances to Adelaide-s Hyundai A-League 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons - scoring four goals in the meantime.

Since linking with the Mariners ahead of season three, Owens has started fifteen matches and appeared off the bench on a further four occasions in the Hyundai A-League - none of which have been registered in season four.

"It-s a massive game, Adelaide are a good team and I think the confidence of our boys has been down after the last few losses, so we-ve just got to get on the training pitch and work towards getting three points on Sunday," said Owens.

"It-s been a good season for Adelaide, they-ve been great, I think in playing against Asian opposition they-ve learned a lot and they-re always tough to beat.

"We-ve got a good record against them at Bluetongue, but all that matters on Sunday is that we get three points."

The Mariners will be back at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Sunday, 25 January to host AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United in the final regular season round of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign. Kick off is at 7pm.

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