Unfamiliar opponents alright by Arnold

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is eager to see how his players adjust to “playing against the unknown” when his charges take on Sriwijaya FC in their 2013 Menpora Cup opener on Friday afternoon (local time).

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold is eager to see how his players adjust to “playing against the unknown” when his charges take on Sriwijaya FC in their 2013 Menpora Cup opener on Friday afternoon (local time).

The Mariners have spent the past three days training in humid, sticky conditions at Stadion Siliwangi in downtown Bandung Indonesia, however will make the 90 minute journey to Stadion Jalak Harupat on Friday aiming for a solid showing against their opponents from South Sumatra.

“We-ve got two Indonesian Super League teams here to play against, so it will be interesting to see what level they-re at,” Arnold said on Thursday. “But for us it is all about ourselves and getting to play against opposition that we-re not used to playing against.”

“The challenge of playing against the unknown is what we-re looking for. We-ve got three games in five days and we-ve got 19 players here to give everyone the opportunity to get 90 minutes into their legs.”

“By the time we get back home everyone will have played three or four games and we-ll be ready for the first game against Western Sydney,” he said.

Arnold himself is no stranger to Indonesian footballers having been involved in several international fixtures against ‘Merah Putih- - the senior Indonesian men-s national team - in the past.

The former Socceroos boss knows that Indonesian players often possess the necessary traits to trouble sides, however the wily mentor is more than happy for his men to be pushed out of their comfort zones against their unpredictable opponents throughout the coming week.

“I think it-s exciting for the players,” Arnold said. “The other choice was to play state league teams back in Australia.”

“To come over here and have a tournament paid for like we have had gives us a good opportunity to play against players that we-re not used to playing against, and challenge ourselves with the new players that we-ve brought into our structures.”

Arnold also believes the Club-s 2013 Menpora Cup campaign will provide a positive physiological spinoff for his players when the team returns to Australian soil later this month.

“The conditions here are much warmer than what we have got at home,” he explained. “It-s a bit like altitude training, you train in conditions that are much worse than what you play and train back at home, so when we get home the conditions will seem much easier and we expect our fitness levels to be much better.”

The Mariners- clash with Sriwijaya FC kicks off at 3:30pm local time (6:30pm AEST).

SRIWIJAYA FC: Club name: Sriwijaya Football Club City: Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia Founded: 1976 Coach: Kas Hartadi Captain: Ponaryo Astaman Colours: Yellow, Red, Black Nickname: Andalas Eagles Australian Connection: Former Perth Glory, Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart defender Jamie Coyne enjoyed a productive spell with Sriwijaya FC in 2012. The 32-year-old Australian defender won the Indonesian Super League title during his short spell with the Club after agreeing a mutual termination of his contract with the Sky Blues.

Central Coast Mariners 2013 Menpora Cup Squad:

1. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Marcel Seip, 5. Zachary Anderson, 6. Brent Griffiths, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 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, 22. Tom Slater

Central Coast Mariners 2013 Menpora Cup Match Schedule:

Friday 20 September, 2013 Sriwijaya FC vs. Central Coast Mariners FC Stadion Jalak Harupat Kick-off: 3:30pm local (6:30pm AEST) Twitter: #SRIvCCM

Sunday 22 September, 2013 Malaysia U23 (“Harimau Muda”) vs. Central Coast Mariners FC Stadion Jalak Harupat Kick-off: 3:30pm local (6:30pm AEST) Twitter: #HMvCCM

Tuesday 24 September, 2013 Persib Bandung vs. Central Coast Mariners FC Stadion Jalak Harupat Kick-off: 6:30pm local (9:30pm AEST) Twitter: #PBvCCM

Official 2013 Menpora Cup Digital & Social Accounts:

Website: www.pialamenpora.com Twitter: www.Twitter.com/PialaMenpora (@PialaMenpora) Facebook: www.Facebook.com/PialaMenpora