Canberra comeback for Clark

Central Coast defender Andrew Clark will be on familiar territory when the Mariners take on Perth Glory this Friday, 4 September at Canberra Stadium.

Central Coast defender Andrew Clark will be on familiar territory when the Mariners take on Perth Glory this Friday, 4 September at Canberra Stadium.

Clark spent two years in the nation-s capital between 1998 and 2000, with the Canberra Cosmos in the now defunct National Soccer League, and whilst he made 21 appearances for the Cosmos, a more lasting partnership begun during his time in the city.

“Back to Canberra to visit my lovely fiancé-s family, so that will be nice,” says Clark, who is due to marry his partner Rebecca later this month, after the pair met during his time in Canberra.

“It-s a great place to play football, and it will be a tough game against Perth, so I hope we can get the result down there,” said Clark.

The match is also a landmark for the 35-year-old, who is in line for a starting berth in Lawrie McKinna-s eleven, a week after making his first appearance of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 campaign.

Clark has been battling a niggling calf injury for much of the club-s pre-season, the final ten minutes of last week-s round four match in Brisbane being the sole game time he-s experienced so far this campaign.

“It-s been a really difficult time for me, missing pre-season with a bit of a calf strain.

“It seemed like a long road back, but I can see the end of it now, so hopefully I can just keep working on my game, and get back to where I need to be,” Clark said.

The Mariners enjoy a better record against Perth than any other opponent in the A-League, enjoying ten successes over the Glory in 15 meetings, most memorably the 1-nil victory in the final of the 2005 Pre Season Cup, to claim the club-s first ever piece of silverware.

But Clark warns the team the Central Coast has enjoyed so much success against in the past, has an all new look.

“(Perth) are a new team this year. They-re really pushing forward in terms of the players they-ve signed and what-s expected of their squad.

“History is nice, but we-ve got a really big game ahead of us and we-ve got to be prepared for a significantly different Perth squad to what we-ve seen in the past.

“I think they are going to be thereabouts this year, and we are going to have to be at our best to win the game,” said Clark.

The Central Coast enjoys a good record in Canberra too, having beaten Sydney FC 3-nil in a Pre-Season Cup clash at Canberra Stadium two years ago, before repeating that score-line in a trial match against Newcastle just over 12 months ago.

With Football Federation Australia due to announce the successful bid for a 12th Hyundai A-League licence next month, and with Canberra among the front-runners, Clark believes Friday-s match serves as the perfect opportunity for locals to send a message of support to the A-League4Canberra bid.

“The crowds weren-t massive when I was at the Cosmos but they are serious about getting an A-League franchise in the future and if they want to do that they are going to have to turn up to the game, and show the FFA they are ready to support football,” Clark said.

The Mariners are next in action in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, against Perth Glory this Friday, 4 September. Kick-off is at 8pm at Canberra Stadium. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.