Arnie's pride in side

Central Coast continue to impress with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory on Wednesday night, coach Graham Arnold saying he's tremendously proud of his player's efforts both on and off the pitch.

Central Coast continue to impress with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory on Wednesday night, coach Graham Arnold saying he's tremendously proud of his player's efforts both on and off the pitch.

It hasn't been lost on Arnold that few rated the Mariners coming into the season, but the coach has pointed out that, despite having a squad of just 21 players, they now sit second on the table three points clear of Adelaide United.

The Mariners have now played four games in the last 10 days and return home to host Sydney FC on Sunday in the F3 Derby.

But Arnold said he's factored the tough schedule in to his planning, saying he was pleased with how a younger side performed on Wednesday in the absence of Patrick Zwaanswijk, Joshus Rose, Patricio Perez and Adam Kwasnik, who all look likely to face Sydney.

"We have another game on Sunday, we made five changes for this one and it just shows what we've been trying since day one this season," Arnold said.

"That has been to create depth and when 17-year-old Musty (Mustafa Amini) comes on, Matty Ryan our goalkeeper is 18 and Trent Sainsbury is 18 as well, when they play well like that it shows that our youth policy is adding depth to the squad. I'm very happy with that."

"We've got four fresh players waiting back in Sydney for us - Zwaanswijk, Rose, Perez and Kwasnik. I was able to take Matty Simon off after 60 and Rostyn (Griffiths) to give them a bit of a break as well. We've got Sydney on Sunday at home and we are going for the three points."

Coming into the season, Arnold was confident he had put together a squad capable of doing well even if outsiders didn't rate the team. He enjoys being underrated and couldn't be happier with how his side continues to perform.

"It's great that we are never favourites. We are always the underdogs and I say let them keep doing it, it's great. We are happy with it. All the experts tipped us to come 10th and battle it out with North Queensland for last spot," he said.

"I had a lot of belief in the players that I brought in, Oli (Oliver Bozanic) came back from England and he's got a wonderful future, the big Dutchman (Zwaanswijk) came over from Holland, Perez came in as well as Josh Rose coming back from Romania."

"I was confident that we had some good first XI players coming back in and the existing players at the Mariners like (John) Hutchinson, (Alex) Wilkinson and Matty Simon knew what the club's all about so it's great that we kept them."

"We've only got 21 players and have had that the whole year. In that 21 we've got five or six guys around 18 years of age, so it was a risk but my view was that the youngsters had to handle the travel better and to work hard with them. All the young guys are now showing a lot which is great."

Arnold gives a lot of credit to his off-field staff as well, though, for the work done with the players off the pitch to have them in tip-top condition this late in the season.

"We've changed a lot of things off the field as well. It's little things and I learned off Mr Hiddink that all the small details mean a lot for players," Arnold said.

"We've given them a full-time training pitch where they can train every day, we feed them breakfast and lunch every day so we control their diets and we have full-time physios."

"I put a lot of the credit of where we are at down to Andrew Clark and our physios and medical team. We are sitting here in Round 25 with 21 fit players."