Mariners full of beans in last chance Saloon

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna says his side is high on confidence that it can get the job done on the road in Adelaide this Friday night, and keep it’s Hyundai A-League 2009/10 Semi Finals hopes alive.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna says his side is high on confidence that it can get the job done on the road in Adelaide this Friday night, and keep it-s Hyundai A-League 2009/10 Semi Finals hopes alive.

The Mariners are able to move back into fifth place on the ladder if they can pick up all three points at Hindmarsh Stadium, but more importantly, victory would finally put an end to a six match stretch out of the winners circle, and confirm the belief within the camp that it is able to finish the regular season strongly, and feature heavily at the business end of the competition.

“We-d be right back into fifth spot. Any away game is hard but we have got a good away record away from home and hopefully we can take that in,” said McKinna.

“The boys were upset after the game that we didn-t get the three points but at recovery on Sunday you could see things were starting to change on the mental side of things, which is a big part of it when you-ve lost five in a row so we-ll go down there full of beans and hopefully get the three points.”

McKinna could see plenty of positives in last week-s 1-all draw with North Queensland which he can take into Friday-s must win affair, but concedes it-s frustrating to see a win slip away once again.

“On the first half performance it was probably two points lost,” said McKinna.

“We dominated again, created chances again and rushed things in front of goal again, but we scored a great goal after a couple of minutes, and that (Jeremy Brockie-s 19th minute equaliser) was their only shot on goal, it was going past but deflected off (Brad) Porter. When your luck isn-t going your way that-s what happens.”

Adelaide united find themselves in last place and they too may have counted themselves unfortunate to earn a precious victory at the weekend, a 93rd minute Shane Smeltz header forcing the Reds to settle for a draw away to the Gold Coast.

“It-s always tough down there and they were very unlucky not to get the three points at the weekend, Smeltz scored that great header in the last minute.

“Our shape going forward, we swapped the midfield around and I thought that worked quite well, (Dean) Heffernan and Porter did really well and (Nik) Mrdja and (Matt) Simon did well up front so we-re definitely going forward in a positive way,” McKinna said.

McKinna will once have a full deck on hand should he feel the need to shuffle, but is likely to stick with a similar setup which very nearly claimed the scalp of North Queensland, with key defender Chris Doig coming through unscathed after playing an hour of a National Youth League match against Perth two weeks ago, and the full 90 minutes against the Fury.

“Chris (Doig) had only played 60 minutes the week before so for him to get through 90 minutes on a night like it was is credit to him. He didn-t venture forward at all or come up for corners, but he was steady at the back as I thought the entire back four was, nine times out of 10 they dealt with things pretty well.

“The 11 that started the game showed enough in that first half for us to believe things are on the positive side,” said McKinna.

One man who will be desperate to impress is Mariners- goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. The 24-year-old will make his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance on Friday, five years after being thrust into the national limelight as a teenager, following a career ending injury to John Crawley.

The young custodian is keen on marking the milestone with a win, to keep his side-s finals hopes alive.

“This will be our last chance, if we don-t win against Adelaide it might be a bit too hard to make the finals, so its do or die for us this Friday, but we-re confident we can do well. We usually do well over there, and hopefully we can get the win,” said Vukovic.

Vukovic-s role in the recent AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait proves he remains well within Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek-s thoughts as he plans for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Vukovic was on the bench in the 2-all draw while Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic featured between the posts, but The Central Coast shotstopper doesn-t view the round 23 match as a battle for supremacy between the Hyundai A-League-s top two goalkeepers.

“At the end of the day, I don-t care if we win 5-4 and I let four easy goals in, as long as we win, that-s all that matters.”

*Head-to-heads: All matches (played 15): Adelaide United wins 6, Central Coast Mariners wins 5 (4 draws)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Michael MARRONE, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN
*three to be omitted*

In: Robert CORNTHWAITE (promoted), Lloyd OWUSU (promoted), Paul REID (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: ALEMAO (hip – 1 week), Kristian SARKIES (quad – 1 week), Joe COSTA (knee – long term injury list)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 23. Adam KWASNIK.
*one to be omitted*

IN: Matthew CROWELL (promoted)

OUT: Nil

UNAVAILABLE: Nicky TRAVIS (illness – 1 week)

Referee: Chris BEATH