Sainsbury seeking reaction at the Oval

Key Central Coast defender Trent Sainsbury says the Mariners are eager to remedy their disappointing performance against Adelaide United from last weekend by producing a vastly improved performance against Wellington Phoenix at North Sydney Oval on Thursday.

Key Central Coast defender Trent Sainsbury says the Mariners are eager to remedy their disappointing performance against Adelaide United from last weekend by producing a vastly improved performance against Wellington Phoenix at North Sydney Oval on Thursday.

The Mariners and Phoenix will play the first ever Hyundai A-League match at the atmospheric North Sydney venue tomorrow evening, with the game at the legendary Oval shaping as a crucial midweek tie for both Phil Moss- men and Ernie Merrick-s charges.

Central Coast Mariners were dealt a heavy 4-0 defeat by the Reds in the city of churches last weekend, while the ‘Nix remain winless following their opening nine games of the competition after they fell 2-1 to league leaders Brisbane Roar last start.

Following his team-s final session in Tuggerah on Wednesday, Sainsbury spoke of what he thought went wrong against the Reds and where the Mariners must improve against the men from the land of the long white cloud.

“We came off the pitch (against Adelaide) and we were very disappointed with ourselves, not only with the scoreline but with the way we performed on the pitch,” Sainsbury said.

“We didn-t put enough pressure on the ball, we went to shut them down but stood two metres off them, our possession of the ball was terrible, and our finishing was terrible.”

“We-ve got to go out there ... pull our heads in and work harder.”

“We-re going to go out there against Wellington on Thursday to try and rectify what happened in Adelaide,” he said.

21-year-old Sainsbury has risen to Hyundai A-League prominence over the past two seasons and is now one of the first names on the Central Coast Mariners- team sheet each week.

As a significant member of the Mariners- normally merciless backline, the dependable defender understands the importance of backing up a sub-standard performance with an inspired one.

But with a desperate Phoenix outfit set to descend on North Sydney Oval, Sainsbury says the game will be a tough one - and that ought to provide plenty of entertainment value for Hyundai A-League fans.

“Wellington have a lot of great talent across the pitch,” he said. “They-ve got some danger men so we-ve got to keep an eye on them and be on our toes for ninety plus minutes.”

“At the moment I-d say they (Wellington) are a very unlucky Club. They-ve been playing some decent football and the results just haven-t been going their way. We-re hoping that on Thursday the results still won-t go their way and we can get the three points.”

Central Coast Mariners boss Moss will have to contend with the unavailability of Zac Anderson (injury) and Brent Griffiths (suspension) for the game against the Phoenix, while Michael McGlinchey may also miss the fixture due to injury.

Despite the absence of some key personnel, Sainsbury insists any player to take the field on Thursday will have the full support and backing of the Club-s players and staff.

“We-ve got a great bunch of boys here and we-ve got good depth in the squad. Anyone that comes in to fill the void will do the job to the best of their ability - we have the greatest confidence in everyone,” Sainsbury said.

While slightly concerned about the wicket in the middle of the pitch from the playing perspective, Sainsbury believes that overall the idea to play a game in a famed venue and in an area where many Mariners fans reside is a positive one.

“I enjoyed going down to North Sydney yesterday,” he said. “It will be nice to play at a pitch that I-ve never played at before. It-s going to be a good test for us and hopefully we-ll see some different fans down there.”

Kick-off between the Mariners and Phoenix in the final match of Hyundai A-League 2013/14 round 6 is at 7:30pm.

Central Coast Mariners Squad vs. Wellington Phoenix: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Marcos FLORES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 13. Hayden MORTON, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 15. Storm ROUX, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matt SIMON, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI *one to be omitted* Ins: 11. Nick FITZGERALD (promoted) Outs: 6. Brent GRIFFITHS (suspended - 1 week) Unavailable: 5. Zachary ANDERSON (back - 1 week), 6. Brent GRIFFITHS (suspended - 1 week), 18. Michael NEILL (suspended - 1 week), 22. Tom Slater (back - 2 weeks), 23. Adam Kwasnik (knee - indefinite)

Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Wellington Phoenix FC Hyundai A-League Round 6 - Thursday 19 December, 2013 North Sydney Oval, North Sydney Kick-off: 7:30pm Tickets: Please visit www.Proticket.com.au. Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hashtag is #CCMvWEL