Macallister to start up front

Central Coast striker Dylan Macallister will get a chance to impress from the opening whistle when the Mariners take on Japanese heavyweights Kawasaki Frontale in their Asian Champions League clash at Central Coast Stadium on Wednesday.

Central Coast striker Dylan Macallister will get a chance to impress from the opening whistle when the Mariners take on Japanese heavyweights Kawasaki Frontale in their Asian Champions League clash at Central Coast Stadium on Wednesday.

Macallister has only been used as a substitute so far in the competition but gets a chance to start on his home turf due to first-choice striker Matt Simon missing out through suspension.

"Football is a funny game, I missed the first Champions League game through sickness … and then I was on the bench in China which was pretty disappointing but I got some time (on the pitch) and thought I did well," Macallister said.

The Mariners will be looking to build on their impressive two-all draw away to Tianjin Teda on March 18 with a win over the team Macallister rates as the most impressive in Group H.

"It going to be a big challenge against the Japanese but I think we can rise to the challenge and put our stamp on this group," he said.

"This is a crucial night or us, we don't want to go to Japan needing a result (to qualify), so if we can get the three points it will make a statement."

Macallister will be looking to provide a fresh approach for a front-line that has found scoring a difficult proposition in recent times, although the draw in China may well have been a turning point for the club.

"We've really been struggling up front for a while not scoring enough goals and we really haven't been playing well enough as a team, so we really need to get on the scoresheet, that's a must."

"(The game against Tianjin Teda) was a draw of course, but a scoring draw was very important for us to get a few goals and really play our attacking style of game."

The Mariners will be hoping for a large home crowd to make things tougher for the visitors and help Central Coast secure crucial points to help them advance beyond the group stage in their first Champions League campaign.

"I think this is just the start of it," Macallister said.

"We've proven to be one of the better-performed sides in the A-League in its first four years and I think a good showing here in the Champions League followed up by another good year next season (in the A-League) and things look really exciting for the future."