Perez to return as Mariners eye Southern derby success

“Now it’s time.” With those words, Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold declared Argentine import Patricio Perez will return to the Mariners 15-man squad for tomorrow night’s week 17 Hyundai A-League clash against Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium.

“Now it-s time.”

With those words, Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold declared Argentine import Patricio Perez will return to the Mariners 15-man squad for tomorrow night-s week 17 Hyundai A-League clash against Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium.

But Arnold has warned while it-s great to have Perez back on deck for the vital clash against the Mariners- fierce rivals after an eight game absence, he says it would be unfair to expect the diminutive playmaker to carry the weight of expectation purely on his shoulders.

“I don-t think anyone has been more frustrated through this, but I-ve also been patient with him. He-s back to a good physical condition now and he-s probably back to where he wants to be. We still have another 14 games in the competition and we have done well to get where we are without him, and Musti (Amini) has had a fantastic month, but now it-s time.

“As I told him It-s time you have to get on the pitch and perform and play, show everyone the reason why I bought you out and why you have those accolades you-ve got in Argentina,” said Arnold.

The Mariners have had a much deserved six days between matches this week, a luxury not enjoyed for the last month, which has seen a gruelling schedule of six games, four of which involving trips away from home.

“This week has been good. It has given us some time on the training pitch to work on things which we haven-t been able to do when we-ve been playing games as frequently as what we are.

“The players were feeling a little bit down but we-ve had a good week and now the players are up,” said Arnold.

Tomorrow-s opponent is coming off the back of a 3-1 win over Wellington in midweek, which was played in trying conditions, and Arnold expects a tough battle at Bluetongue Stadium.

“They-re in the middle of a difficult run with a lot of games but we-ve had the same. We had seven weeks away where we just travelled and played which wasn-t easy, but the character and mentality in this group is fantastic.

“For the first time in four weeks we-ve got a full squad to choose from except for Brad Porter and Daniel McBreen. (Nik) Mrdja is back, Perez is back and (Pedj) Bojic is back, which is great news,” Arnold said.

Adam Kwasnik is expected to start alongside Matt Simon tomorrow night following Daniel McBreen-s suspension, and Arnold says the foundation Mariner thoroughly deserves his chance in what will be his 99th appearance in Yellow and Navy, after four goals in seven matches off the bench.

“He-s been giving me a headache for the last few weeks because every game he comes on he either scores or looks like scoring.

“Kwas has been in great form and I-m looking for a good performance from him and Matty Simon tomorrow night,” Arnold said.

Sydney FC-s famous “Cove” is expected to make the trek up the F3 in strong numbers again tomorrow night, and Arnold has issued a call to arms to all Mariners Members and supporters to come out in force and get behind their team.

“We need a big crowd. Our supporters have often said that Saturday night is their favourite time to come and watch the Mariners play, it doesn-t get in the way of them spending family time on the beaches around the Coast so I hope people really show that and get behind the team.

“If we get a big crowd behind us and supporting us against Sydney I-m sure that we will get the result we need,” Arnold said.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season is against Sydney FC tomorrow, Saturday, 4 December at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:00pm ADST and tickets are available from or by phoning 132 849.

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partners are 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford) and SBS 6 (Digital).

Head-to-head: All matches (played 17): Central Coast Mariners wins 4, Sydney FC wins 8 (5 draws)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 24. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk). *four to be omitted*

In: Pedj BOJIC (returns from injury), Patricio PEREZ (returns from injury), Nik MRDJA (promoted), Matthew LEWIS (promoted), Bernie IBINI-ISEI (promoted)

Out: Daniel McBREEN (suspended - one match)

Unavailable: Daniel McBREEN (suspended - one match), Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season).

Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Terry ANTONIS, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS *three to be omitted*

In: 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN

Out: Nil.

Unavailable: Nicky CARLE (Back - 3 Weeks)

Referee: Matthew Breeze