Hearfield close to call-up

As one of the new faces in Graham Arnold's Central Coast squad this season Troy Hearfield knew he had a fight on his hands for a starting berth at the Mariners.

As one of the new faces in Graham Arnold's Central Coast squad this season Troy Hearfield knew he had a fight on his hands for a starting berth at the Mariners.

Coming off such a successful season, Arnold was always going to show faith in the players who helped the Mariners make a third grand final in six years.

Hearfield linked with the Mariners after three good seasons with the Wellington Phoenix and, after two solid performances off the bench, is now itching for a start when the Mariners tackle fierce rivals Newcastle at Ausgrid Stadium on Sunday.

"Every footballer wants to start games, I'm no different," Hearfield said.

"I don't blame Arnie for sticking with players (from last season)."

"They had a great season. All I can do is keep working and take any chance I get."

"So far I've been happy with my form."

Arnold is always on the lookout for players who can play in multiple positions and that is why he signed Hearfield.

He played mostly in defence at the Phoenix but also as a capable midfielder.

"Troy's in the mix for a start," Arnold said.

"He did very well in pre-season and is knocking pretty hard on the door for a start."

Meanwhile, Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson is back running after missing the opening two games of the season with a fractured arm.

"He'll be close (for selection on Sunday) but I'll be leaving a decision until pretty late," Arnold said.