Baird joins Mariners

The Central Coast Mariners have boosted their striker stocks with the acquisition of Michael Baird from Perth Glory.

The Central Coast Mariners have boosted their striker stocks with the acquisition of Michael Baird from Perth Glory.

Baird's contract was due to expire at the end of the current season, but Perth agreed to release him early so he could join the Mariners.

The 27-year-old has signed a 15-month deal that will see him remain at the Mariners until at least the end of the 2011/12 season.

"When I started in the first season with the Roar, the Mariners were keen to have me here and I was looking at it," Baird said.

"The Mariners have always been a club that have been developing and now when I've been away and come back I can look at the Mariners as a big club in Australian football. They are only going to go up in leaps and bounds and I want to be a part of that."

After being a part of Brisbane's inaugural Hyundai A-League season, Baird spent four years at Romanian club Universitatea Craiova before joining the Glory at the start of the current campaign.

He managed just one goal in 13 appearances for the Western Australian side and is looking forward to a fresh start under coach Graham Arnold.

"From what Arnie has been telling me and from what he wants in the team I think I'll bring some pace and directness toward goal," he said.

"I'd like to think I'm good in the air but I'm probably not as good as Matty Simon or someone like, he's a good battler. I'd like to think I've got pace and I could be the man that Perez or whoever is playing in behind can find."

Arnold was delighted to have Baird on his books with striker Nik Mrdja ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

"I coached him in the Under 20's national team back in 2003 so I know what Michael is all about. He gives us something totally different to what we have got up front. He adds a lot of depth and we are very happy he has come to the club at this stage of the season," Arnold said.

"Since the start of the year we've only had 21 or 22 players, with Brad Porter out for the season and now Mrdja (for eight weeks), we needed to strengthen the squad a little bit."

"We're always looking to strengthen and I'm very happy with where we are at, we're in a good position. We have a great opportunity to get second place and to add a bit of freshness into the squad at this time of year is great timing I feel, just before a heavy program."

Baird will be eligible to make his debut in Sunday's clash against Wellington at Bluetongue Stadium.