Mariners ready for gruelling AL schedule

Pamela Whaley
·2-min read

Central Coast coach Alen Stajcic insists he's not concerned with the fitness of his side as they edge towards their third two-day turn around since the start of the A-League competition.

A 2-1 loss to Wellington on Sunday marked the start of another tough stretch for the Mariners, who are set to play three games in eight days.

They will next back up on Wednesday against Melbourne City followed by Western United on Sunday night which will bring up four short turnarounds since December 31.

The only other A-League side with a schedule as tight so far is Perth, who have had two two-day turnarounds.

However, the gruelling draw is of no concern to Stajcic, who is confident his side can handle the recovery and stamina required.

"We've done a good job to handle it so far, off the top of my head we're the only side to have three two-day turnarounds" he said.

"We've managed it well previously and no doubt we'll manage it in a similar way in the upcoming week as well.

"I'm not too worried about fitness or conditioning for the players, I thought we ran out the game well and we were on top, for me, throughout the whole second half.

"So it's not fitness or health that I'm really worried about rather than just that finishing touch on top of all the good play in the front third."

In a positive sign for the Mariners, they've won each game they've backed in up with limited rest.

Their first was a 2-0 win against Macarthur after beating Newcastle the Thursday before.

They also stunned Sydney FC on January 22 with a 2-0 win after losing to Western Sydney three nights earlier.

The win against the A-League champions showed their potential and Wednesday night's match against the runners up is another chance to prove they can be a contender this season.

"They're the grand finalists from last season so we know how tough of a game that's going to be," Stajcic said.