DYNAMIC Mariners attacker Mitchell Duke expects the lively atmosphere anticipated at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday to work in his side’s favour as he aims to put in another stellar shift for Graham Arnold’s team, this time against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Duke scored an impressive brace and was an instrumental figure in Central Coast’s 6-2 thumping of Melbourne Victory in Gosford last Saturday night, and says he’s “pumped” to feature in a fixture expected to draw a capacity crowd.
“There has been a lot of hype about this weekend with it being a top-of-the-table clash,” Duke said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere, so I’m definitely pumped to play this Saturday.”
Bred in Sydney’s west, Duke admits some of his friends will be in the stands supporting Tony Popovic’s Wanderers this weekend.
But this fails to faze the in-form attacker, who believes Central Coast locals will continue to rally behind their team as Arnold’s outfit aims to consolidate its place atop the Hyundai A-League ladder.
“The Red and Black Bloc are going to fill enough of the Stadium, sure, but I think the Mariners’ supporters are definitely going to come out and support us as well, and try to compete with the RBB,” he said.
Central Coast Mariners have played a total of 11 competitive matches at Bluetongue Stadium this campaign. Impressively, the team is yet to lose at its idyllic bayside base, and Duke feels all the pressure is on the Wanderers leading into tomorrow’s match.
If the Wanderers are to take anything away from Gosford, they're going to have to earn it.
“There’s no pressure (on us),” he said. “We are treating it as another game. We want the three points every week. We treat our home base as a fortress and we don’t want to lose any points to anyone here.”
Duke played 30 minutes in Wednesday’s scoreless draw with Korea Republic’s Suwon Bluewings in the AFC Champions League, and says he is feeling fresh for Saturday’s blockbuster.
The pacey striker also believes Coach Arnold enjoys making tough decisions in regards to the make-up of not only his starting eleven, but his matchday 15.
With 21 players fit and available for selection, Duke admits Arnold is probably still pondering the combination he’s to deploy against Wanderers.
“Arnie (Arnold) loves having competition for spots,” Duke said. “He loves the fact that everyone is fit and ready, so he can put the best team out on Saturday.”
“He was resting some of the older boys (against Suwon) ready for Saturday, so they will be good.”
At 4:00pm on Friday, there were only 400 tickets left for the round 23 Hyundai A-League fixture between Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers. Supporters can secure their seat at the match by following this link.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Zachary Anderson, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 9. Bernie Ibini, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 13. Brent Griffiths, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 18. Nick Montgomery, 19. Mitchell Duke, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 21. Mile Sterjovski, 24. Hayden Morton, 29. Nick Fitzgerald (Six to be omitted)
In: 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 13. Brent Griffiths, 15. Brad McDonald, 17. Anthony Caceres, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 24. Hayden Morton (all promoted)
Unavailable: 23. Adam Kwasnik (knee – season)
Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1. Ante Covic (GK), 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Adam D’Apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Dino Kresinger, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Joey Gibbs, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 15. Reece Caira, 16. Rocky Visconte, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 18. Iacopo La Rocca, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson (GK), 21. Shinji Ono, 23. Jason Trifiro (Six to be omitted)
In: 7. Labinot Haliti, 11. Tarek Elrich, 15. Reece Caira, 16. Rocky Visconte, 23. Jason Trifiro (all promoted), 8. Mateo Poljak (returns from injury)
Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers - Hyundai A-League round 23
Saturday 2 March, 2013
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match!
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter. The official hash-tag is #CCMvWSW