He’s faced the likes of English Premier League giants Liverpool, Aston Villa and Blackburn, so it’s little surprise Ahmad Elrich would be to concerned about the prospect of Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday night, particularly following the results against the defending champions so far this season.
He-s faced the likes of English Premier League giants Liverpool, Aston Villa and Blackburn, so it-s little surprise Ahmad Elrich would be to concerned about the prospect of Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday night, particularly following the results against the defending champions so far this season.
In the two meetings in 2009/10, the Central Coast has amassed six goals, conceding none, for 2-nil, and 4-nil victories respectively, and Elrich is confident of history repeating.
“Melbourne is going to be another tough task, but hopefully having the home ground advantage and our record against them should play in our favour,” said Elrich.
“We have nothing to fear against them because we-ve showed we can go to Melbourne and get fantastic results, so we are looking forward to the game.”
Melbourne youngster Leigh Broxham this week indicated Saturday-s showdown will be all about payback, the Victory suggesting they “owe the Mariners one” after two of their four losses so far this season, were both at the hands of the Yellow and Navy.
“I think if you ask any team who they would like to play in a Grand Final, or, just who they hate playing against, it would be us.
“We have this label where we have been named as a long ball team, and people who aren-t involved in our club know that we like to play, and we make teams fear playing us, because we work hard, we have a lot going forward and our defence is good, so I-d hate to play against us,” Elrich said.
It-s been an amazing road to recovery for Elrich, after suffering Anterior Cruciate Ligament damage in both knees, returning to full training the second time around, in just five months.
“Getting injured always puts you back, and I-m just happy to be back involved, and trying to help the team on its way to a premiership.
“It-s tough. Doing your left and your right (knee) plays on your mind, but you have to be mentally strong to get through it.
“You have to set targets and goals, because if you don-t, you won-t get through it, and its hard, but I-ve had a lot of support from the club, and from the boys, so it has been a lot easier the second time around,” said Elrich.
Elrich made a return to the Mariners- starting lineup for last week-s loss to Gold Coast United after some strong performances in the National Youth League, and joked the result may have been different, should he have played the full 90 minutes.
“It-s when I came off we copped the goals!” laughed Elrich
“I was just excited. It shows he (Lawrie McKinna) has got the faith in me to give me another opportunity, and I am looking forward to paying him back.
“We dominated that game, we kept possession well, our movement was good and they didn-t cause us any major problems. Vuka (Danny Vukovic) didn-t have many major saves to make, it was just in that last 20 minutes where we exposed ourselves a little bit, and paid the price for it,” Elrich said.
The Mariners are away just once over the next month, providing a feast of football for Coast fans, and Elrich is hopeful of playing in front of huge festive crowds, starting with Saturday-s grudge match against the defending double winners at Bluetongue Stadium.
“It-s been a funny season so far. Anyone coming from seventh or eighth position can get in the top four.
“Having the home support is like having a 12th man on the field. The supporters have been great all season and hopefully they come out and support us, especially against Melbourne who have 20-odd thousand when we play them (at Etihad Stadium), so why not have 10 or 15-thousand when we play them (at Bluetongue Stadium),” Elrich said.
The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, 12 December. Kick-off is at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.
Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs are available online by clicking here