Placed just outside the top four but within touching distance of the summit of the Hyundai A-League, the Central Coast Mariners’ season defining fortnight will begin in earnest against beaten AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.
Placed just outside the top four but within touching distance of the summit of the Hyundai A-League, the Central Coast Mariners- season defining fortnight will begin in earnest against beaten AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.
Should the Mariners defeat Adelaide on Saturday night, they will be rewarded with a season-high second placing ahead of Round 12-s trip south to face Hyundai A-League leaders Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome.
Indeed, the stakes have seldom been higher for the yellow and navy, who return to their Bluetongue Stadium home hopeful of setting another unique off-field milestone.
Should Saturday-s match up draw an attendance of 9,590, the aggregate attendance of all Mariners matches at Bluetongue Stadium since season one will reach the half-million mark – an amazing achievement for a club that represents an immediate region of a little over 300,000 people.
The Mariners will be represented by a near unchanged line up, with Nigel Boogaard returning at the expense of injured team-mate Paul O-Grady.
O-Grady was withdrawn at half time of the Mariners- last outing with a groin strain and has not recovered in time to retain his place in the yellow and navy starting side.
Long-term injury concern Dean Heffernan has returned to training and is expected to challenge for a squad berth within one month, while Andrew Clark-s recovery from a shoulder injury is likely to see the local veteran eligible for selection next week.
Meanwhile, Hyundai A-League squad members Andre Gumprecht, Andrea Merenda, Matthew Nash and Chris Tadrosse will each get their chance to push for first-team selection when running out for the Mariners- National Youth League team in the curtain-raiser fixture.
“Although we had a week off last week, we trained reasonably hard, we came into our last game after a break against the Wellington Phoenix underdone and we-re making sure that we won-t do the same with this game,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.
“It-s a big game for the club, if we win this one we go second in the Hyundai A-League, we-re very happy with where we-re at in the season, but we really need to get a few wins together now.
“It-s going to be hard for Adelaide, I don-t agree that they-ll be tired, I think they-ve dealt with their workload brilliantly, Viddie has done a good job and credit to them, they-ve been fantastic for Australian football.”
Saturday-s match at Bluetongue Stadium will mark the fifteenth occasion the Mariners have met Adelaide United in all competitions.
The Mariners- first meeting against Adelaide remains the Mariners- equal greatest ever triumph in a competitive fixture – a 4-0 thrashing at Bluetongue Stadium in the semi final of May 2005-s Club World Championship qualifying series.
Many of the Mariners- Hyundai A-League encounters against the Reds are favourably remembered in a historical sense, with former Adelaide guest player Romario-s Hyundai A-League debut against the Mariners in season two placed alongside John Aloisi-s first goals in Australian domestic football against his hometown club last season.
In addition, October-s epic 3-3 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium is commonly regarded as one of the truly epic Hyundai A-League encounters of all time.
In total, the Mariners have won five matches against Adelaide, lost five and drawn five – having netted 21 goals in such time and having conceded 17.
“The next two weeks will make or break our season, if we lose the next two games we could be at the bottom of the table, if we win the next two games we could be at the top of the Hyundai A-League,” said McKinna.
“It-s a huge two games for us and I think our boys will rise to the occasion and hopefully we-ll have a big crowd this Saturday coming out to support us and showing their support to Adelaide United for the great run that they-ve had.”
Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United
Bluetongue Stadium – Saturday, 15 November 2008, Kick off 7.30pm
DOB 3 Apr, 1981
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DOB 29 Jul, 1983
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DOB 5 Mar, 1975
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The Mariners will resume their Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 15 November, when they host AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United. Kick off is at 7.30pm.
Prior to the main game, the Mariners- National Youth League 2008/09 campaign will continue with a fixture against Adelaide United. Kick off is at 4.45pm, gates open at 4.30pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website – www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.