Baro: Mariners focused on huge end to the season

Their Hyundai A-League Finals Series hopes remain slim but skipper Alan Baro knows his Central Coast Mariners can play the role of party-pooper over the last month of the regular season.

In the final five rounds, the ninth-placed Mariners take on all four sides currently in the top four.

With spots in the top four so important to earn a home final, the Mariners have the chance to dent the hopes of a few sides in coming weeks.

And while admitting it’s a huge challenge for his young side, Baro feels his side lifts their game for the big occasion.

“The last month of the season is a big challenge for us,” the Spanish centre-back said.

“We have to be prepared to work hard and finish as strong as possible. Everyone knows how difficult it will be but we need to have a clear view of what we want to achieve.

“We need to focus on each game as it comes and not look too far ahead. This season we’ve responded well when we’ve faced the supposed ‘big teams’.

“We have performed well in these games but we should be consistent in every game, this weekend we would really like to show to our fans that we can do much better.”

The Mariners’ tough end to the 2017/18 Season begins on Sunday with a trip to AAMI Park to take on fourth-placed Melbourne Victory.

Paul Okon’s side haven’t won any of the last 14 clashes between the two clubs.

But both meetings this season have ended in draws and Baro is excited about coming up against his former club.

“As always, playing against Melbourne Victory is going to be a tough game. It will be hard, but we’ve got a week to prepare to take them on,” he said.

“It’s always nice to come back and play against an old club but the focus will be on the way we play. We need to focus on playing well and try to fix our mistakes from last week.

“We’ve drawn twice against Victory this season and at home we played really well against them so we will want to replicate that performance a little bit.”