|Arnold will now be out to make the Mariners eat their words|
The Mariners as a club should have positively promoted Arnold’s return with close NSW rivals Sydney FC and tried to capitalise on the sunny Central Coast weather, grabbing those still on School holidays and visitors for the Australia Day long weekend. In what is the third of their School holiday matches, the club has posted crowd totals of 9932 and 7409 failing to meet the number required by owner Mike Charlesworth to be deemed viable for keeping matches in Gosford. With a continued trend by Charlesworth this season to move games into the North of Sydney, the Mariners need a response from local fans this weekend and one has to wonder what effect the advertisement will have on the already tough-to-get-through-gate coasties’.
Positive showings from the Mariners in their last two outings against Brisbane Roar (3-3) and Melbourne City (2-0) before the Asian Cup break should have left supporters eager to return to the grass under the palms for the enticing encounter with Sydney FC. Building on such results will be in the minds of both Coach Phil Moss and Captain John Hutchinson, who will both be desperate for a win. The Mariners welcome back Nick Montgomery and Matt Simon from injury to the side after a three week break.
Sydney FC will be with new signings Jacques Faty, Mickael Tavares and Robert Stambolziev, who have all been purchased by Arnold to cover for indefinite injury losses to key players Nick Carle, Sasa Ognenovski and Ali Abbas. Sydney will also be without Terry Antonis who is on international duty with the Socceroos at the Asian Cup. Arnold will be using the deep knowledge of his former side to his advantage, and will run with Shane Smeltz up front trying to penetrate the Mariners line.
The spirited clash will no doubt be well attended by true Mariners fans, and with Josh Rose inking a new two-year deal with the club last week and their recent results, the Mariners have plenty to be building on. The figure of Arnold back on the sidelines, albeit on a different end than usual, will be a startling scene for fans, which were used to Arnold’s at times dramatic presence while leading the navy and yellow. Hopefully Sydney fans make the trip up the Freeway for the long weekend and holiday-makers take the opportunity to watch a first class game on the Central Coast. With tickets under $25, there’s no better time of the year to take in the sunset overlooking Brisbane Water from the picturesque Central Coast Stadium stands.
See you on Saturday night folks!