Arnie spots flaws in Korean ACL team
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold says he has spotted some weaknesses in South Korean opponent Suwon Bluewings and hopes superior match fitness will be a telling factor on Wednesday in their opening Asian Champions League (ACL) game in Gosford.
While the A-League-leading Mariners are just a few weeks away from finals combat, Suwon are just emerging from their pre-season.
"We're hoping that they are a little bit rusty," Arnold said on Tuesday.
"We know that they haven't played a competition match yet this season and we're 22 rounds into the competition, so hopefully we can catch them a little bit short.
"Our performance against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night was top class and we're going to need to play like that again for us to compete with them."
While Suwon have a new coach and haven't started their domestic campaign, Arnold is confident he has uncovered some deficiencies.
"We've highlighted to our team their strengths and we've seen a few weaknesses and we have to try and capitalise on those," Arnold said.
Australian-born Suwon defender Eddy Bosnar didn't appear concerned by his team's lack of match practice.
"Tomorrow is our first game of the season but I think that, tactically, our coaches have done really well in the training camp," Bosnar said.
"They have scouted Central Coast really well - we've watched a bit of Central Coast.
"We respect them but we're not scared of them."
Arnold will rest veteran defender Patrick Zwaanswijk, while captain and midfielder John Hutchinson will miss the game after suffering a tight groin near the end of the Victory match.
Zac Anderson will come into the starting side for Zwaanswijk with Oliver Bozanic tipped to take Hutchinson's defensive midfield role, while Socceroo Mile Sterjovski could return to the Mariners squad after being was rested for the Victory encounter.
The ACL clash is sandwiched between two huge A-League games against Melbourne Victory - which the Mariners won 6-2 - and Saturday's blockbuster against second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers.
"The games coming up are important as well but the main focus is only tomorrow night," Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey said.