Doig out, Simon in doubt

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna has had his fair share of injury dramas as the Mariners prepare to play in the heat of Townsville for the first time in the Hyundai A-League on Saturday night.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna has had his fair share of injury dramas as the Mariners prepare to play in the heat of Townsville for the first time in the Hyundai A-League on Saturday night.

The fourth-placed Mariners are desperate to take something from the trip to Dairy Farmers Stadium against North Queensland before returning to play at home for the first time in nearly two months next week.

But it will be a tough assignment with big central defender Chris Doig out and key striker Matt Simon in doubt.

Doig's frustrating first season in the Hyundai A-League looks set to continue after he sustained a quadricep strain in training before the team's last-start win over Melbourne.

McKinna said Doig could be out for up to four weeks.

"He'll keep working on it but at this stage he might miss a few games which is disappointing," McKinna said.

With Doig out, the versatile Nigel Boogaard, who will join Adelaide next season, will partner captain Alex Wilkinson in the centre of the Mariners' defence.

Simon has been battling a back injury but is still a chance to play.

The club's leading scorer is such a vital member of the team and McKinna will give the fringe Qantas Socceroo every chance to take the field. If he is ruled out Nik Mrdja will start with Adam Kwasnik up front.

Kiwi international Michael McGlinchey will come back in with youngster Matthew Lewis a chance to miss out. McKinna said the youngster, who was so impressive in his starting debut against Melbourne, could still be in the squad.

Matthew Crowell will return from suspension and could be used off the bench.

"After so many away games we want to get a good result in Townsville and come home with confidence," McKinna said.