Three new faces boost bid for three points
The Central Coast Mariners will potentially be boosted by the return of key pair Nigel Boogaard and Dylan Macallister for tomorrow’s match against Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium, while guest player Mark Bosnich has also been included.
The Central Coast Mariners will potentially be boosted by the return of key pair Nigel Boogaard and Dylan Macallister for tomorrow-s keenly anticipated east coast derby against Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium, while guest player Mark Bosnich has also been included in the Mariners- extended 17-man squad.
Both Boogaard and Macallister missed the Mariners- 1-1 draw away to the Newcastle Jets in the Mariners- opening match of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season last Friday, but have each trained strongly throughout the week in a bid to make their first starts of the new season.
Boogaard has recovered significantly from a groin strain, while Macallister has shown improvement from a rib concern.
Two of the Mariners- other injury worries, Dean Heffernan and Mile Jedinak, will not take part in tomorrow-s fixture but have each progressed with their leg and groin concerns respectively - both players are expected to push for selection against the Queensland Roar in Round 3.
Goalkeeper Bosnich, who earlier this week penned a seven round guest stint with the yellow and navy, will compete with incumbent custodian Danny Vukovic for a place in the Mariners- goal, in what will be Vukovic-s final outing before commencing a five-match suspension.
Otherwise, the Mariners are unchanged for their first home match of season four, which pits them against their southern rivals and another team to record an opening round stalemate - Sydney FC.
"You can-t get two harder games than Sydney and Newcastle first up," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.
"Hopefully Nigel Boogaard and Dylan Macallister will be available and they-ll be the only two that are added to last Friday-s squad.
"We-re just looking forward to a huge atmosphere and huge crowd on Saturday night."
Saturday-s clash between the Mariners and Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium will almost certainly set the benchmark in terms of the largest attendance for the opening match of a new Hyundai A-League season at Bluetongue Stadium.
5,917 watched the Mariners- historic first ever Hyundai A-League home match in September 2005, before 4,644 turned up to witness a 0-0 draw between the Mariners and the Queensland Roar in the first Bluetongue Stadium match of the 2006/07 season - each of these crowds significantly less than half of the Mariners- season three average home match attendance.
The current largest ever crowd to watch the opening Hyundai A-League match of a new season at Bluetongue Stadium is 9,052, which was the figure in attendance to witness the Mariners defeat the Wellington Phoenix 3-0 in Round 2 of season three.
Few Hyundai A-League match ups can rival the amazing history of fixtures between the Mariners and Sydney FC, which have historically been amongst the most entertaining in Australia-s top-flight football competition.
In total, 43 goals have been scored in 14 matches between the Mariners and Sydney FC, an average of 3.07 goals per match, up on the Hyundai A-League all-time average of 2.58 goals per game.
The highest scoring match in Hyundai A-League history was between the Mariners and Sydney FC - last seasons unforgettable 5-4 epic at Bluetongue Stadium that was won by Sydney FC.
Indeed, it is Sydney FC that currently has the edge over their east coast rivals, having won seven of the previous 14 match ups between the two sides, in response to the Mariners- five triumphs.
"Last week Sydney battled hard and grounded out a good performance against Melbourne, who a lot of people are tipping to be up there this season," said McKinna.
"Sydney have got a great squad and it doesn-t matter what squad they put on the park, they-re going to be strong.
"We beat them well in the Pre-Season Cup game, I-m sure they-ll be still smarting from that game and coming here to get a result."
Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC
Bluetongue Stadium - Saturday, 23 August 2008, Kick off 7pm
DOB 9 Apr, 1984
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The Mariners- Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign continues at their Bluetongue Stadium home this Saturday, 23 August, when they host southern rivals Sydney FC. Kick off is at 7pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale now from all Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.