Vukovic keeping the faith

Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic returned just three clean sheets throughout the entire Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season, but just over a third of the way through version five, the Mariners’ custodian already has five to his name.

Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic returned just three clean sheets throughout the entire Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season, but just over a third of the way through version five, the Mariners- custodian already has five to his name.

Vukovic-s increased confidence is also easy to spot, the 24-year-old explains while last season he didn-t believe in himself to keep clean sheets, where as this time around, he steps out on the part every week, believing he can remain a rock at the back.

"Personally, I think I-m doing very well this year," said Vukovic.

"At the back end of last season was probably my worst form in the five years I-ve been playing at this club. My form is good this year and the defenders in front of me have been playing well, so it-s a group thing.

"We-re confident in every game that we can go out and keep a clean sheet, it-s something that we didn-t have at the back end of last season."

Amazingly, Newcastle was the first team to breach the Central Coast-s defensive resolve more than once in a single match this season, that proud defensive record of not conceding more than once in any match amazingly taking 12 rounds to finally be broken.

Michael Bridges and Labinot Haliti providing a double blow in the opening 14 minutes, something the yellow and navy fell just short of recovering from.

"It was a bit disappointing the way we started the match, especially given the last two matches before that we started off really well, and it was the first 20 minutes where we lost the game.

"We played well for the next 70 minutes of the game though, and hopefully we can take that good form into the next game against Adelaide," said Vukovic.

Canberra Stadium will, for the second time this season, provide the backdrop for a Mariners- Hyundai A-League fixture, and after Alex Wilkinson and Matt Simon - as well as a fine Vukovic save to deny Branko Jelic - helped the side to a 2-1 win over Perth Glory, and the Central Coast shot stopper hopes Saturday-s return to the nation-s capital can provide a springboard to the club-s title hopes.

"We-re confident we can go all the way to the finals and hopefully win this year.

"We enjoy going to Canberra, we-ve been going there for the last five years, be it pre-season, or like this year, where we had a good win over Perth, we haven-t lost there.

"We have some good form there, we enjoy playing there, and hopefully on Saturday night we can get the win," Vukovic said.

And while just over 5,000 fans braved a chilly September night to witness the first ever Hyundai A-League match in the capital, Vukovic is keen to see a big crowd on what is expected to be a barmy Saturday evening, for the double header which sees the Mariners- Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League teams taking on Canberra United and Adelaide United respectively.

"It would be nice if the Canberra faithful come out and support us, we-re bringing the game to them, and it would be nice if they come out and see us," said Vukovic.

The Central Coast Mariners take on Adelaide United next Saturday, 31 October at Canberra Stadium, as part of a double header, which also sees the Mariners Westfield W-League side clash with Canberra United. Kick-off in the Westfield W-League game is at 4:15pm, while the Hyundai A-League sides do battle at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here