Boogaard sets sights on Smeltz

Central Coast defender Nigel Boogaard is under no illusions of the task confronting him on Saturday night when the Mariners take on Gold Coast at Bluetongue Stadium.

Central Coast defender Nigel Boogaard is under no illusions of the task confronting him on Saturday night when the Mariners take on Gold Coast at Bluetongue Stadium.

Gold Coast striker Shane Smeltz has scored nine goals in just six matches this year and Boogaard knows he'll have his work cut out against the Hyundai A-League's top scorer.

"He's one of the form strikers in the competition, he's obviously shown that on the scoring chart. If I can prove myself against him, then I know I'm in good stead for the season, and if we can keep (Jason) Culina quiet as well, hopefully we can go a long way towards beating them," said Boogaard.

"I always wanted to get back into the middle and play centre half, and control that position there."

"I do enjoy that a lot more, the physical battle with the striker and things like that. It's all going to plan at the moment, but I can't rest on my laurels, I know I've still got a lot more to improve on and hopefully I'll get there by the end of the season."

The Mariners boast the stingiest defence in the league, conceding just four goals in six matches and Boogaard is confident that his side can keep the most prolific team at bay despite Gold Coast already scoring 14 goals this season.

"The boys know the Gold Coast is probably the benchmark so far this season, and to knock them off would really show our intent for the season," he said.

"The boys are pretty confident that there isn't a team in the comp we can't beat on our day, so it's just a case of rectifying a few things that went wrong on the weekend and getting things going in the right direction again," Boogaard said.

One player who will know first hand what Smeltz is capable of is Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey, who made his international debut for New Zealand against Jordan last week.

The All Whites won the match 3-1, thanks to two goals from Smeltz, and McGlinchey knows that the whole team will have to be on the ball to stop him and Culina this weekend.

"They are the two players you have to try to watch, and obviously the gaffer will try to work a game plan around that, but I think we have enough good players so that we can cause an upset," he said.

"The last game I played was against Perth and we had a good win, so hopefully I can kick on from that and have another good game against the Gold Coast."

The Mariners are currently in fourth place on the ladder, but a win on Saturday would see them close the gap on the table-topping Gold Coast to just two points.