Arnold trapped between two football comps

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    A physically demanding schedule has Central Coast coach Graham Arnold trapped between juggling players for the club’s A-League and Asian Champions League missions.

    Speaking after salvaging a come-from-behind 3-3 draw with last-placed Gold Coast in a rescheduled fixture on Wednesday, Arnold said he might have to poll Mariners fans to gauge which title they wanted to win most.

    “I haven’t given the ACL a lot of thought just yet. I just want to get Melbourne Heart out of the way,” said Arnold.

    “I might have to start a voting poll with Mariners supporters on what they want us to concentrate on – the A-League competition or the ACL.”

    Arnold said the club could have done without playing the game against Gold Coast which was washed out earlier this month.

    “It’s just added to the heavier schedule for us,” he said.

    “We’ve got Melbourne Heart on Sunday, then we’ve got Sydney FC next Saturday and then we’re off to China (first ACL game).

    “After that, we’ve got a lovely game against Perth away, so it’s a busy time.”

    On the positive side, Arnold will get Oliver Bozanic and goalkeeper Matthew Ryan back from Olyroo duty to help the Mariners through a tough stretch of games.

    Ryan will return to the club after being part of the Socceroos World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia in Melbourne next week.

    “Fortunately, we get a few Olyroo boys back this month who’ll add some quality and depth to our squad,” he said.

    The Mariners are one of three Australian clubs to qualify for the 2012 AFC along with Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United.

    They open their campaign against Chinese qualifiers Tianjin Teda in Group E in China on March 6.

    While last year’s runners-up have the A-League squarely in their sights – sitting six points clear on the ladder with just five rounds to go – they also have an eye on becoming the first Australian club to win the ACL, a showdown featuring Asia’s best club sides.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • February 24th 2012 @ 8:49am
      Midfielder said | February 24th 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Demanding times ahead…. renewed my membership this week as the club has offered if you renew your membership you get to see the ACL homes matches in the renewal cost.

      • February 24th 2012 @ 11:56am
        JohnL said | February 24th 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        That is a good deal Midfielder.

        Roar have offered the ACL tickets at the same price as A-League tickets, and gave season ticket holders the chance to buy their same seat for the ACL games.

        Not long to go now… Best of luck to all the Mariners and Adelaide fans. Let’s hope we have some representation from Aust through to the later rounds 🙂

    • February 24th 2012 @ 10:40am
      Trueman said | February 24th 2012 @ 10:40am | ! Report

      That’s a good deal. Well done mariners.

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    • February 24th 2012 @ 3:28pm
      tom said | February 24th 2012 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

      I sense a bit of over confidence and arrogance? Hope Heart give CCM are hard time and take away a win.

      • February 24th 2012 @ 4:34pm
        Stevo said | February 24th 2012 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

        Last time CCM snuck a win at the death when for most of the game we were all over them like a rash. Fred back for us in this game so here’s hoping.

      • February 24th 2012 @ 4:52pm
        Midfielder said | February 24th 2012 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        Come on Tom & Steve… give us a break we need the win…

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