Heff to inspire Mariners

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna hopes the return of Australian goalscoring hero Dean Heffernan will inspire the Mariners to a much-needed Hyundai A-League victory against North Queensland at Gosford on Saturday night.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna hopes the return of Australian goalscoring hero Dean Heffernan will inspire the Mariners to a much-needed Hyundai A-League victory against North Queensland at Gosford on Saturday night.

Heffernan found the back of the net for the first time in national colours when Australian played out a 2-2 with Kuwait in an Asian Cup qualifier on Thursday.

The goal continues what has been a fantastic comeback season for Heffernan after he missed most of the 2008-09 campaign after breaking his leg in the classic 5-4 encounter with Sydney just before Christmas 2007.

Heffernan and national squad teammate Danny Vukovic are due to train with the Mariners late on Friday and are certain to be included in McKinna's squad against North Queensland at Bluetongue Stadium.

It is a match the Mariners simply must win.

After a horror run of five defeats in succession, Central Coast is sitting in eighth place and is in danger of missing the finals for only the second time in the club's successful history.

Many have written off the club's finals hopes but McKinna knows a win could see his team jump at least two places.

"Training this week has been the best it has been all season,'' McKinna said.

"The boys know we need a win and they've put the work in this week.''

"The table is very tight so a win gets us right back in the mix.''

"It's a big game.''

The last time the Fury came to Gosford the Mariners looked on track for a win before a second half goal saw the teams share the points. However the club can take some heart from the last time it played North Queensland which ended in a thumping 5-1 win for Central Coast at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

And, while McKinna isn't expecting that type of result to happen again, he knows three points are definitely needed.

As well as having Heffernan and Vukovic back, defender Nigel Boogaard is also available after serving a one-match suspension.

McKinna also confirmed experienced central defender Chris Doig is a chance to play.

Doig has missed much of his first Hyundai A-League season with two leg injuries, but played in the club's youth team last week and will be in squad.

"He's a good chance to start,'' McKinna said. "He went okay last week and has trained well.''