Mariners receive big boost as new boss prepares young side for title defence

Young Mariners ready for opening night challenge | Preview | Isuzu UTE A-League 2023/24

Central Coast Football Manager Mark Jackson is able to call upon a key player ahead of opening round clash in Adelaide.

Reigning champions Central Coast Mariners are buoyed by the news first-choice goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will be available for this Friday’s season-opener against Adelaide United.

The Mariners captain was initially a doubt for the game after suffering a groin injury during the club’s recent 9-1 demolition of Stallion Laguna FC in the AFC Cup.

Having had little to do in the one-sided clash at Industree Group Stadium, Vukovic was immediately withdrawn in the latter stages after tweaking his groin whilst clearing the ball.

However the 37 year old is now back in full training with the squad and is expected to be named in the starting side when the Mariners begin their Isuzu UTE A-League title defence at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.

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A fully fit Danny Vukovic will certainly come as a boost for new Central Coast boss Mark Jackson, who has already been made aware of what to expect in Adelaide.

“I’ve been told it’s a really, really good place to go and play football,” said Jackson. “The pitch will be good, the stadium and atmosphere will be good so we’ll be ready for it.”

“We’ve got a few more days yet to prepare and the players will be ready. Let’s see what happens in the game but yeah, we’ll be confident.”

Having lost the likes of Sam Silvera, Nectarios Triantis and Jason Cummings in the off-season, Jackson has taken over a squad which looks remarkably different to that which won last season’s Championship.

However the Englishman believes the youthful additions of Alou Kuol, Angel Torres and others made by the club will undoubtedly suit the way he likes to work.

“I think we’ll be one of the youngest teams in the league so that’s good for me. As a manager I like that, that’s kind of my experience and my background working with young players.”

“I’m excited. It’s a young team, we know that, we know there will be mistakes with young players but what I’ve seen so far is the willingness to learn from the group has been at a really high level.”